Diabetes “Mad Men”…..What Commercial WOULD YOU LIKE to See?

mad menFrom my time as a producer, I can tell you that it is a very labor-consuming, frustrating, and difficult time frame, from conception to airtime, creating a commercial or Public Service Announcement (PSA).

Trying to think of a commercial with a concept that captures the viewer’s attention by being edgy like this one created for the 1984 Superbowl. (Click links to see Ad).  Is no easy task.



Or perhaps a lighthearted approach like this one reminding us to “buckle-up’—-this became a huge classic.

Buckle up




And if you like Public Service Announcements, here is an all-time classic.

Like father like son




In between all of these thousands and thousands of commercials and public service announcements are the ones that missed the mark. Not every commercial can be remembered like Smokey the Bear.  And when it comes to disease-specific like diabetes it gets even tougher as we learned in the last few days.  We want this, but you cannot do that; this is good, but don’t say that; OMG my kids will see that–no way; they are healthy, they could die at any moment; the list is extremely hard to navigate, extremely hard.

While at dLife I wrote and produced the PSA spot below (look for Sandra Oh and Bret Michaels) to try to engage people to ‘Test’ their blood sugar more often.  dLife had already changed their ‘Know your Number’ to ‘Test, Don’t Guess’ in print work but to run a PSA, more thought had to be considered.  So you know how difficult this process can be; while figuring the entire process, Paula (Producer colleague) and I agonized over the use of the word ‘test’ and not ‘check’ for over a week before we bought it to dLife Creator Howard Steinberg for approval and air time; the deciding factor–they are not called ‘check-strips’ they are called ‘test-strips’.  So as simple and low-budget as it was; we ran with this spot (edited together by the incredible Holleran Media Productions) which, as many now know, became an award-winning spot (Telly Award).

test don't guess

With the recent announcement of the new IDF PSA; the DOC was not short of opinions chiming in about the spot; but that’s easy.  To look at something and say; “Fabulous’, “Realistic”, “Horrible’, “Seriously?”, and many more comments both pro and con; well that is the easy part of the commercial.  Whether you like something or not, well that is your opinion.

So here is the challenge.  By replying to this article, start to tell me what ‘your perfect’ diabetes commercial would be.  The more exact you make it, the better the understanding; so be specific.  If we can come to one unified concept, I will check with ‘some friends’ I still have and see if they can produce the spot (no promises, but I will try–I’m also not a big fan of animated, or cartoon, spots; just so you know).  Of course if someone out there knows someone who knows someone who would love to be involved…..shoot me an email.  😉

The spot needs to be engaging, thirty seconds in length, edgy enough to be talked about but not edgy enough to offend.  It can be funny, dramatic, poignant, and focused.  It must be focused.  You have one message to get across….what is it?

As you go through this process you will find that it is not as easy as it looks, or you may even think it to be.  Now I know that it ‘is not your job’ to create a PSA or a commercial, but if you had an opinion on the IDF spot, you should be able to relay what you would duplicate or what you would not duplicate.  Post your thoughts here and also feel free to comment on each other’s work.   It will be like ‘we’ are the agency creating the spot.  A little diabetes ‘Mad Men’ as it were.

Have a feel of what this process is like, and let’s see if we can come to a resolve on what the spot should look like. 

Okay………..Lights!  Camera! Action!   Rollllllllll ’em……………….

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

5 replies on “Diabetes “Mad Men”…..What Commercial WOULD YOU LIKE to See?”

My purpose would be educating about a need for a cure. I would make the 30 seconds show the difficulty of living with D. Finger pokes, carb counting, shots, etc. I’d also mention the cause is unknown. At the end, I’d have a 4 year old T1 ask his dad “when will diabetes be over?, and have the dad cry a little.

The difference between Type 1 and Type 2 and the fact that your child can be diagnosed with diabetes even if he is not overweight. People overlook the early warning signs way too often.

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