Diabetes is one of the fastest-growing threats to health in the UK and carries long-term health risks, including heart disease, kidney failure and blindness. Individuals need to closely monitor blood glucose levels to avoid fluctuations.
This summer, Roche Diagnostics asked its agency, Pegasus PR, to make a big splash in the press around its Accu-Chek brand of blood glucose meters, particularly the Accu-Chek Compact, which records levels in five seconds, during Diabetes Week.
To use Diabetes Week, organised by the charity Diabetes UK, to raise awareness of regular self-testing, and to promote the Accu-Chek meters through media coverage.
Strategy and Plan
A major challenge was to overcome apathy to 'awareness' weeks and the media's reluctance to cover the subjects of diabetes and medical gadgets.
Furthermore, the experience of diabetes varies between sufferers - the early onset Type 1 and the lifestyle-triggered Type 2 - which would need to be portrayed.
Pegasus decided to present the human face of diabetes and approached actress Tara Moran, who has lived with Type 1 diabetes since the age of six, to front the campaign.
As regular self-testing is a particular problem with children, Pegasus also secured support from Coronation Street actress Lucy-Jo Hudson, whose teenage character Katy Harris was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in March, to support a campaign called Accu-Chek Teams.
This activity was backed by a radio day and a campaign mascot, Accu-Chek Alfie, who made 55 visits to local pharmacies during Diabetes Week.
Measurement and Evaluation
On 22 July, the Daily Mail carried an exclusive interview with Moran, explaining the benefits of self-monitoring and featuring Accu-Chek branding.
Bella, Best and OK! published interviews with Hudson.
The Daily Express, Daily Mirror and The Sun covered the devices, while the radio day secured 23 interviews with Moran. Accu-Chek Alfie gained regional press coverage.
The Accu-Chek branding featured in all the coverage and the accu-chek.co.uk website saw hits increase from 11,000 in May to 19,000 in July following the campaign.