Playing the audience

Yesterday I had the fun of being in a focus group at an advertising agency testing concepts for a pharmaceutical company’s new campaign for diabetes care. We were five people on our side of the table, five real live people with diabetes, and they were three – a researcher, a copywriter and an account director.

We were presented with four different concepts and asked what hit us positively or negatively about the ideas, what the ideas were communicating and what was our gut reaction. These ideas would then be worked on further and narrowed down to be presented to the client and potentially be made into TV commercials and magazine ads. Often, as advertising is developed, it is shown to potential viewers to validate whether the ideas being developed are going in the right direction. After all, we are the ones who live with diabetes, they are the ones who read about it in a brief. 

It’s a heady feeling to help people make decisions that will impact and influence millions; to have the opportunity to affect how they will talk to us, approach us, regard us. It gave me a deep sense of satisfaction to represent my own views and I hope the many, having listened to so many people’s stories of living with diabetes.

While I will not blow their cover, for this is a competitive pitch, I will tell you that two concepts resonated with me. The first because it presented living with diabetes as a progressive process best performed in a ‘make one small change today’ way. It was positive, it understood that this is a condition you can’t get on top of in a day or a week, or just by taking a pill. Rather there are many habits and lifestyle modifications one must address to move toward living well with diabetes.

The second concept that grabbed us all has a great tag line, but again my ethics prohibit me from telling you what it is. But I will tell you that it regards people who live with diabetes as powerful and positive and people who throw themselves into enjoying their lives rather than letting diabetes stop them. It inspired us. It commended us. And it’s how

I hope everyone with diabetes will choose to take life on after they get past the shock, anger, why me? stages and phases and realize now it’s your decision truly, totally about how you want to live your life. Below you’ll see my observation about being on ‘the other side of the needle.’ Yesterday was just as interesting being on ‘the other side of the table.’ It also confirmed what a hot topic diabetes is today. Hopeful, isn’t it?

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