Health plan ads poke fun at Paul Bunyan, but Bemidji can’t take a joke

The humor-impaired state of Minnesota is in full bloom with this weekend’s release of ads for MNsure, featuring the iconic Paul Bunyan and Babe characters.

Bunyan, who can clear-cut forests and create 10,000 lakes, is quite the klutz, it turns out in the new campaign.

There’s the old ax in the leg…


..and the tree in the…


The ad campaign is intended to convince people — especially the healthy ones — to sign up for health insurance. But there’s one affliction for which there is no coverage: Minnesota’s chronic seriousness.

“I think they’re offensive, some of them, and I think they’re inappropriate,” Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht tells the Bemidji Pioneer. “And I would prefer some of them not be used.”

Lori Paris, head of the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce, calls the campaign “a hit to our community image.”

She tells the Pioneer: “Paul has been our icon for so many years that you think of that particular Paul, you think of Bemidji. But now when you see him running into a tree and falling over, it just looks foolish I think.”

Bemidji should take it a “little bit more personally,” the mayor said.