Case Study: A Dose of Art, In-Depth Market Research & Aggressive Media Outreach Combine to Fight Diabetes

Company: Eli Lilly and Company Agency: Manning Selvage & Lee Timeframe: 2007-ongoing How can a chronic illness inspire? How does an illness connect to millions worldwide? How can one story directly impact another? Following the United Nations Resolution on Diabetes in late 2006, which recognized diabetes as a serious threat to global health and led to the designation of World Diabetes Day, Eli Lilly and Company launched the initiative "Inspired by Diabetes." The aim was to encourage people touched by diabetes to answer these questions and express how the condition affects and inspires them daily. Through an art competition accepting entries from around the globe, Inspired by Diabetes used creativity to inspire, engage and unify supporters worldwide. Art Therapy "We're really about putting a focus on the patient and what we can bring to the table as a pharmaceutical company to help people better manage their diabetes," says J. Scott MacGregor, associate communications consultant for Eli Lilly & Company, when describing the human interest angle to this philanthropic initiative. "As part of that, we talk about solutions beyond therapy." To find a model for the Inspired by Diabetes program, the communications team used a recently successful Lilly initiative involving cancer survivors and art therapy. "We saw the tremendous response from the cancer community and decided to take some of those learnings and apply it to the diabetes community," MacGregor says. "The Inspired by Diabetes program was an outgrowth of that philosophy." Although art therapy is not a cure to the condition, he adds, it can be effective in helping people cope with it. (Eli Lilly & Company also worked on the program with its agency of record, Manning Selvage & Lee, but due to a strict company confidentiality policy, could not share details on how agency and company worked together to achieve the program's goals.) The campaign's primary target audience was families with diabetic children and adults with diabetes, plus a secondary audience of diabetes healthcare providers--those who impact the primary target the most. While children and young adults with diabetes (namely, type 1 diabetes) make up only 10% of the diabetes population, years of observations of children and families at diabetes camps and family diabetes events led the team to believe this program would be well suited for this segment of the community. Grounding Art With Numbers Lilly market research and medical data showed that to help people with diabetes achieve better health outcomes, they need hands-on support and motivation between doctor visits. Secondary research on artistic expression for people with chronic illness also indicated the program's target audience would respond positively to a program focused on creativity and personal storytelling. As the first U.S. insulin manufacturer and company founded on dedication to diabetes care, Lilly's commitment to developing non-therapeutic solutions to support patients served as the foundation for creating the program. To further hone and develop the tactics for the Inspired by Diabetes program, additional research was conducted. This included reviewing global and U.S. statistics to better understand the worldwide impact of diabetes; auditing Lilly's network of diabetes educators to assess meaningful ways of motivating patients; seeking effective ways to reach diabetes community through third-party and key diabetes media input; and researching "Q-scores" for celebrities with diabetes to measure target audience opinions and assess potential impact of messages delivered by selected spokesperson. After this research was conducted and its findings analyzed, a "Creative Expression Competition" model was developed by the program team to serve as the linchpin of the campaign. The team determined that a contest seeking expressions of art (drawing and painting), essays, poetry, photography and music would engage the target audience in a meaningful way. Also, to underscore the global burden of diabetes and link each person's story directly to those of others, a charitable component was integrated into the effort. For each entry, Lilly will donate funds to U.S. and global diabetes programs that serve children worldwide. The American Diabetes Association and the International Diabetes Federation also signed on as U.S. and global supporters of the program though several channels. Gathering Supplies Initial planning for the Inspired by Diabetes program ran from February to May 2007 and included creation of press materials (for example, press releases, posters), a competition entry form, the entry and judging process, program rules, privacy guidelines, the campaign logo and Web site. Given the prevalence of the disease in the Hispanic community, materials were offered in English and Spanish. To help communicate the program's messages, American Idol finalist Elliott Yamin, who has type 1 diabetes, was retained to serve as global ambassador (for more on selecting the ideal spokesperson for a campaign, see sidebar). Specific objectives for the campaign were as follows: Increase involvement in campaign: secure 500 entries into the Creative Expression Competition; Raise awareness: secure 75 million media impressions through national and local media coverage; Attract 7,500 unique visitors to (a site dedicated to the program) during year one of the campaign; and Attract 30% more visitors to an event location than a venue typically experiences. In addition to retaining Yamin as a spokesperson to deliver the program's messages via media outreach, other campaign strategies to roll out the program included conducting in-market interviews to drive attendance of Inspired by Diabetes events, media and add-on support for program launch; hosting a series of secondary in-market events in a high prevalence market to support launch; and developing an integrated, online campaign featuring the launch of Art Opening The communications team debuted the Inspired by Diabetes program to the global diabetes medical community at American Diabetes Association's annual meeting in June 2007, and then broadened awareness efforts to reach to families of children and adults with diabetes in November 2007. The program was introduced to its secondary audience (healthcare professionals) first as part of a strategy to seed messages through these influencers to foster future consumer receptiveness. Professional launch consisted of U.S. and global press releases and media outreach. Between June and November 2007, the team message-trained Yamin and made programs materials available at his concerts leading up to and following the consumer launch on Nov. 7 and 8. The consumer launch included a satellite media tour with Yamin. There was also a strong digital outreach component to the initiative. To introduce Yamin as global ambassador, the team conducted 10 weeks of digital outreach to key diabetes Web sites beginning in September 2007. A blogger roundtable with five top diabetes and entertainment blogs was also held with Yamin on Nov. 8 as a lead-in to planned consumer events. Roundtable video and photos were posted on blogs and YouTube to extend coverage. Appealing To The Masses To further raise awareness of diabetes, Lilly sponsored a diabetes special hosted by Al Roker, an advocate of diabetes awareness and childhood obesity prevention, which aired on NBC Nov. 10, 2007. As part of the sponsorship, NBC produced a public service announcement starring Yamin that was featured on NBC's Times Square Jumbotron and in NYC taxis during November 2007. Continuing the momentum, an Inspired by Diabetes free-admission day at the Children's Museum of Manhattan was held in New York on Nov.10, hosted by Al Roker. Diabetes, general health and Inspired by Diabetes art stations were set up for children and families to create entries and speak to diabetes- and museum educators about art, good health and diabetes. The event, held the Saturday before World Diabetes Day (Nov. 14), took place the morning of the Lilly-sponsored NBC special. Local media outreach was geared to encourage attendance and drive traffic to the Web site. Additionally, Yamin was the keynote presenter for the International Diabetes Federation at the World Diabetes Day celebration at the United Nations. There he performed and led a march of participants from the U.N. to a special post-event reception. Inspired by Diabetes was prominently featured in the event and program materials were distributed. The program far exceeded its objectives and produced a strong ROI. More than 89.6 million media impressions were generated; Today, Entertainment Tonight, New York Times and New York Daily News provided coverage. From June to November 2007, there were 9,100 unique Web site visitors to Approximately 110 Web postings were made about the program within the June to November 2007 timeframe on media sites such as The art competition elicited 675 global entries, while The Children's Museum of Manhattan event attracted 2,510 visitors, making it the second-largest crowd in the museum's history. As of press time, the program has entered its second year and Elliott Yamin has moved on as spokesperson. He has been replaced by Denver Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler, who also lives with diabetes. PRN CONTACT: J. Scott MacGregor;

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