Selecting Spokespeople: Mining the Personal Touch

Perhaps one of the key lessons learned on the Inspired by Diabetes campaign was the importance of matching the cause with a celebrity spokesperson personally affected by it. The pairing needs to be a good fit and make sense overall, says J. Scott MacGregor, associate communications consultant for Eli Lilly & Company.

"When seeking a spokesperson for your cause or philanthropic initiative, find someone who has a strong personal connection to it," he says. "Don't just pick any person randomly and expect it to fly with informed members of that community. It won't work."

American Idol finalist Elliott Yamin, the spokesperson for the first year of the initiative, and current spokesperson, Denver Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler, both live with the condition and can talk freely and honestly about it. Their names lend cachet to the cause, but living with diabetes truly gives them credibility when communicating the program's message to the media and target audiences.

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