NEW YORK, NY – The American Diabetes Association and the Ad Council, working with the National Council of La Raza and the American Association of Diabetes Educators, are joining today to launch a new series of national public service advertisements (PSAs) and online tools designed to raise awareness of the risks of uncontrolled diabetes and help those Americans with diabetes take the first steps toward staying healthy.
There are nearly 24 million children and adults in the U.S. currently living with diabetes and that population is growing at epidemic proportions, according to American Diabetes Association. One new case is diagnosed every 20 seconds in our country, and the disease and its complications kill one American every seven minutes. While those with diabetes are generally aware of complications associated with the disease, many are not aware of their true risk for certain deadly diabetes-related complications, such as heart attack and stroke.
“These PSAs are what we need to further educate people with diabetes about the deadly complications that can occur if one does not properly manage his or her disease,” said R. Paul Robertson MD, President, Medicine & Science, American Diabetes Association. “We are excited to once again continue our collaboration with the Ad Council to reach hundreds of communities in need of education. Education is a key component to changing the future of diabetes.”
The campaign aims to reach all Americans who have diabetes with a particular emphasis on African Americans and Hispanic Americans. According to the Association, African Americans are 1.8 times more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than Caucasian Americans and Hispanic Americans are 1.6 times more likely to have diabetes. Created pro bono by ad agency McCann Erickson and its McCann HumanCare unit in New York, the campaign includes new English and Spanish-language television, radio and web PSAs, as well as Spanish print and English-language outdoor PSAs.
The PSAs illustrate how serious complications of diabetes can arise suddenly and without warning, and encourage those with diabetes to proactively engage their health care providers in a conversation about understanding and managing their risk factors. The ads are an extension of the American Diabetes Association and Ad Council’s national multimedia campaign, which first launched in 2007.
“We are delighted to continue our partnership with the American Diabetes Association, which will further educate Americans with diabetes about how they can reduce their risk for serious life-threatening complications and improve the quality of their lives,” said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “The compelling PSAs and the wonderful new online resources will provide those with diabetes with the tools they need to take control of their diabetes.”
The campaign drives audiences to visit two new websites, www.diabetesactnow.org and www.diabetesactuaya.org. The comprehensive websites give adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes friendly, supportive places to get simple answers and learn easy actions to help reduce and/or prevent complications like heart attack and stroke. Each site features a diabetes health care professional who explains why people with diabetes need to know their ABCs (A1C – a measure of average glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol), and includes a library of entertaining videos designed to help users make easy lifestyle changes to improve their diabetes numbers. The English-language site features a personal dashboard where users can track their progress and select action plans. In addition, a new interactive widget provides users with diabetes-related content and resources that can be accessed directly on their personal desktops.
The campaign’s Spanish-language materials also include a toll-free number (800-533-9623) to learn more about how to effectively manage diabetes and a brochure that addresses the dangers of heart attack and stroke. The brochure describes the importance of controlling diabetes patients’ ABCs and provides tips to help patients reach their goals, including a diabetes goals card, while encouraging those with diabetes to work with health care providers.
“We are proud to be able to work with the Ad Council and our sponsors to help people with diabetes get more directly involved with their treatment,” said Andrew Schirmer, EVP and Managing Director of the HumanCare unit at McCann Erickson. “We found that we had to grab folks by the lapels a bit to make them aware that if diabetes is not controlled effectively it can lead to problems now, and not just down the road.”
The new PSAs are being distributed to approximately 33,000 media outlets nationwide this week. Per the Ad Council’s model, all of the ads will air and run in advertising time and space donated by the media. Beginning this week, an integrated social media program will extend the reach of the PSA campaign online with strategies designed to engage and educate those with diabetes throughout the country.