INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGNS: Health PR - Ogilvy gives IDF a PR shot inthe arm

Client: International Diabetes Federation (Brussels, Belgium)

PR Team: Ogilvy Public Relations (London)

Campaign: The Diabetes Tidal Wave: Can We Cope?

Time Frame: December 2000 - May 2001

Budget: Around $125,000

Because of the alarming increase in Type 2 diabetes, the International

Diabetes Federation (IDF) wanted to secure media coverage of the

science, spread, and cost of the disease.

To help achieve this goal, Ogilvy was hired to position the IDF as a

proactive force in raising public awareness of Type 2 diabetes.

Ogilvy also wanted to establish the IDF as an authority in educating

top-tier press on the impact of Type 2 diabetes and its precursor,

Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT), as well as the associated

cardiovascular risk of both conditions. The firm held a press briefing

in Montreux, Switzerland on May 31 that publicized the rise of diabetes

and upcoming IDF events, including a workshop on IGT in August 2001 and

World Diabetes Day on November 14, 2001 (the theme of which is diabetes

and cardiovascular risk).


Ogilvy and the IDF helped draw attention to the increasing number of

people with diabetes by having prominent European experts address the

issue at the media summit. IGT was leveraged as the new angle on the

diabetes story, says Denise Reid, account manager at Ogilvy Public

Relations. "In addition, the IDF was promoted as the only international

patient-focused, non-governmental organization concerned with diabetes,"

she notes.

The PR firm wanted to position the IDF as a proactive force in raising

awareness of the diabetes epidemic. More-over, the IDF wanted to

emphasize the need for preventive strategies, and to inform the public

about IGT, which affects one in seven adults.


Ogilvy created press packages specifically for distribution at the


The packs contained written and graphic materials about diabetes and the

IDF, which were also posted on with a video sound bite

from Sir George Alberti, professor of medicine in the department of

diabetes and metabolism at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Following the briefing, three hours were set aside for one-on-one

interviews with key speakers. Details for members of the press who were

not able to attend the event were kept on file for follow-up.


The event resulted in coverage in 30 publications, such as the UK's The

Economist, The Independent, The Telegraph, and New Scientist. Other

European media outlets such as Germany's Die Welt and Artze Zeitung,

Italy's Panorama and Corriere Salute, and France's Le Figaro provided

coverage, notes Reid.

The event also generated stories on a series of leading radio outlets in

Europe, including BBC Radio 4's Leading Edge, BBC World's Science in

Action, BBC Radio Scotland, and Italy's Radio Rai.

Moreover, a great deal of interest was generated amongst press who were

unable to attend the event, with an additional 35 international outlets

requesting background materials.

The posting on Newstream. com received more than 70 hits, and resulted

in coverage on numerous sites, including,,, behealthylifestyles. com,,, and irishheatlh. com.

The campaign raised the profile of the IDF as an organization committed

to using the media to raise public awareness, says Reid. The success of

this event encouraged the IDF president to incorporate communications

into other areas of IDF policy-making activity.

"As a result of the summit, there has been huge public interest in

diabetes, and the debate on screening has been moved forward," explains



The IDF announced it would like to hold a similar event next year, using

the same PR team at Ogilvy. The firm will also promote findings from the

upcoming diabetes workshop in August, and will help promote World

Diabetes Day.

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