ADA tests consumers' awareness of diabetes

American Diabetes Association (ADA) and AOR Mullen have made social media engagement a priority.

Client: American Diabetes Association (Alexandria, VA)
Agency: Mullen (Boston, MA)
Campaign: Diabetes Alert Day
Duration: March 27, 2012 – April 27, 2012
Budget: $31,500

American Diabetes Association (ADA) and AOR Mullen have made social media engagement a priority. Ending 2011, ADA's Facebook following was about 140,000. For this year's Diabetes Alert Day (March 27), the team put the ADA's Diabetes Risk Test on Facebook and emphasized getting that audience to take it and share it across their social networks.

“Diabetes Alert Day has been a campaign for more than 20 years,” says Lois Witkop, SVP marketing communications at the ADA. “The point is to call attention to [diabetes] statistics and ask people to take the risk test. Our Facebook audience is really active, and we wanted to activate it this year instead of just trying to pull people to our website.”

Media relations and celebrity outreach helped drive awareness.

Partner Boar's Head donated $5 for every test taken (up to $50,000) by April 27, which Mullen SVP and account director Tony Labriola says was promoted as an incentive.

A dedicated Facebook tab allowing audiences to take the test and click to share it went up March 26.

All ADA-owned channels, including Twitter and, urged audiences to take the test and share it and drove them to Facebook.

Celebrity supporters and other celebrities touched by diabetes were asked to post calls to action on their social media channels.

A letter from the ADA's 2012 national youth advocate Logan Nicole Gregory published in Dear Abby kicked off media efforts on March 26. A national press release followed. Local ADA offices and partners conducted outreach in their markets. Numerous diabetes bloggers also helped promote the campaign. All outlets were asked to tweet about Diabetes Alert Day.

Geralyn Spollett, ADA's president of healthcare and education, conducted an RMT and participated in a Q&A on on March 27.

More than 52,000 online tests were taken on March 27, up from about 14,000 taken online March 22 to April 22, 2011.

By April 27, 130,457 online tests were completed - nearly equal the total completed online for all of 2011 (154,000).

Social media impressions soared from about 12 million in 2011 to more than 46 million this year. On March 27, Facebook likes increased by 2,300, up from 586 on Diabetes Alert Day last year. Ending April, likes were up more than 15,000 total (likes currently exceed 207,300).

Media placements nearly doubled this year to more than 750 in outlets such as USA Today, Everyday Health, and the San Francisco Examiner.

More than 30 celebrities, including Alec Baldwin, posted social media messages. 

The team is preparing for a “Safe at School” fall campaign and for the ADA's American Diabetes Month campaign in November, which will be anchored on Facebook.

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