We want a pitcher, not a belly-itcher
Although I said I’d be cutting down on my blogging a bit, some goals to me are like New Years’ resolutions: I comply with them selectively. Actually, I’m home from work today, taking a “real-people-sick” day (that’s when you feel like garbage and no amount of insulin or glucose will help). Z picked it up at day-care and passed it on to me, but I don’t mind.
So, today was a good day to lie in bed, fire up the DVR, and finally watch The Pitch, that show on AMC where two ad agencies try to sell their ad pitches to the JDRF. Apparently, the channel that I thought aired only American Movie Classics has other episodes, too. I never would’ve known.
It’s old news, so I’ll try to keep this short, sweet, and relevant. If you haven’t seen the show, and plan to, SPOILER ALERT, stop now (it’s available on iTunes, if you’re interested). If you have seen it, if you’ve already read Kerri’s or Sara’s response (or others I haven’t yet found), or if you just don’t care, read on.
This is a reality-TV show where the folks at JDRF are looking for a new marketing pitch. Apparently, they’re looking to bring in more donations to fund research, because there are more adults with Type 1 diabetes than ever before, therefore the name “Juvenile” is no longer appropriate, and the pitch should convey that in promoting the brand. The TV producers and editors had their eye on drama, which hadn’t happened yet, so this part got edited to the point of confusion (for me, anyway).
I wonder if AMC made any payments to JDRF to compensate them for their TV appearance.
Reality shows always feel the need to limit the number of contenders. (When I bought my house, it took a lot more than three candidates to make my decision). To appeal to the most viewers, there were only two very different marketing agencies competing for this contract.
Bozell is a big marketing firm, staffed with white guys in corporate attire, headquartered somewhere in middle-America. This works to their advantage, because Manhattan-based JDRF also comes from the Midwest. They didn’t come in prepared at first, going as far as to question the pronunciation of the four letters. (is it pronounced “Jay-Dee-Ref”, or “Jay-Dee-Arr-Eff”?).
Muse is an ethnically-diverse urban firm, which tends to migrate towards a multicultural audience. Dressed in street-clothes and baseball caps, they seem to be better suited to connect with a potential audience, but selling a nonprofit brand, rather than merchandise, isn’t exactly their forte. They also didn’t do their homework, or they would’ve known that the term they repeated several times, “diabetic”, is frowned upon in some circles.
A perfect contrast that only a reality TV show could love. The ethnic difference was a recurring theme throughout the episode.
For now, I’ll jump ahead to my evaluation of the three pitches (two by Bozell, one by Muse). MediaBistro has a great synopsis of the show. You can read it there if you like.
- TOD (Bozell). TOD is an attempt to personify and acronymify Type One Diabetes. Everybody hates TOD. TOD sucks. TOD is evil, and we need to fight him (or it) to the death. To me, TOD (the concept, not the acronym) is really, really bad. In some ways people with T1D are defined by their disease (as much as we try to deny it and separate the two), and saying that TOD is awful kind of implies that I am awful, too. It also subliminally promotes a message that life ends at diagnosis, which is not true. Many PWD’s, myself included, live happy lives despite TOD. Oh, and the shorthand for Type 1 is T1, not TO. That’s been made clear in JDRF’s new logo.
- One Less Prick (Muse). Channeling a quote by Martin Luther King, Jr., Muse attempts to sell this idea as an initial baby-step to a loftier goal. Before we can eliminate diabetes entirely, we need to reduce it one fingerstick at a time. The shock value surrounding the word “prick” causes lots of debate, but that’s not where I feel this campaign fails. It fails on its inaccuracy. Finger-pricks (or -sticks, or -lances, or whatever you call it) are the easiest part of living with diabetes. If someone came up with a system whereby I could prick my finger one less time each day, I’d politely respond “No thank you.” In fact, I’d gladly prick my fingers twice as often if it meant I would no longer have to count carbs, calculate insulin, or correct blood sugar excursions. I like the “look and feel” to Muse’s ad, but the message was all wrong.
- Be The Voice of 1 (Bozell). This was the winner, and justifiably so. At first, I didn’t much care for this campaign; the single finger in the air and the emphasis on the number “1” seemed silly. This isn’t a championship-rally, we’re not saying We’re number 1 and we’re the best. And the Powerpoint-projector-presentation would have had me asleep in the first five seconds. But as it went on, I grew to like it. It was unifying and empowering. And I could see, going forward, an image of a crowd of people of all shapes, sizes, ages, and colors, captioned by “Any 1 of us could have Type 1”, or something like that. It could dispel some of the myths about diabetes. This campaign doesn’t scream “Give me money”, but it can be emotional, and can inflict a small enough hint of fear to make a non-D realize “that could be me.”
Part of the campaign, the bethevoiceofone.com website, is now live. It doesn’t have much content right now, just a collage of relevant tweets in the “1” and links to JDRF’s main page and their “donate” page. Hopefully, the video that was shown on the episode will appear here as well; I can’t find it so far. I’m anxious to see what happens, and in what media forms they really get the word out.
About that belly-itcher in the title, well, it’s time to change my CGM sensor site. Sigh.