President Obama's viral selfie stick video promotes Obamacare

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- President Barack Obama is the Internet's latest viral video star.

The video he recorded for BuzzFeed was seen more than 18 million times in its first day online.

The goal of the video? Convince young people to sign up for health care coverage before the Feb. 15 enrollment deadline.

But to try and reach those young people, the president's tone is less Sunday morning talk show and more YouTube channel.

BuzzFeed titled the video, "Things Everybody Does but Doesn't Talk About." In it, the director cuts back and forth between the president and a member of the millennial generation.

The president makes faces, tries on shades, and even uses a "selfie stick."

Then, he shares information about healthcare.

USC student Katya Lopatko said she doesn't usually seek out political information from traditional media outlets but would watch this video.

"I'd be more likely checking Facebook or another social media site to see one of my friends sharing a BuzzFeed article versus like a New York Times article," said Loptako.

"Overall, its positive because he needs to seem more in touch with the electorate as compared to this aloof figure," she said.

Natalie Raphael, also a freshman at USC, agrees. "I think it makes him really personable," she said.

Professor Tom Hollihan of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism said the strategy is necessary.

"Absolutely the president takes a little calculated risk here that some will view this as non-presidential or not up to the standards of the office. But the reality is, he's already run his last election," Hollihan said.

He continued, "What he needs to do now is establish the security of his legacy and Obamacare is very critical to his legacy."

Hollihan said the free advertising for the president's healthcare plan is priceless.

"Many young people are essentially 'un-newsed': They don't read the newspaper, they don't watch TV news, they don't listen to news radio," he said. "This was an attempt to reach an audience that's very difficult to reach and to reach them with a style of communication they're comfortable with, will respond to and will likely share with their friends."

Copyright © 2020 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.