« From Abby: Summa, Summa, Summatime. | Main | Dream World. »

The Pitch: Be the Voice of 1.

Le Pitch.  That's French for "the Pitch.""The JDRF is on The Pitch.  It's after Mad Men.  You watch Mad Men, right?" 

This is the paraphrased version of several texts I received on Sunday night from friends and family, alerting me to the fact that the JDRF was the featured "client to win" on AMC's The Pitch.  (Removed is the part of the discussion where I admit to not watching Mad Men and am flogged repeatedly by 160 text characters.)  Two ad agencies, Bozell and Muse, were hot to earn the JDRF as a client, and while the focus of the show was the preparation for the pitch, it was really cool to see type 1 diabetes folded into the storyline.  I'd never tuned in to The Pitch before, but I was glad I caught this episode.  (You can download it from iTunes.) There were a few things that leaped out at me as notable; here we go:

National Exposure.  Type 1 diabetes doesn't often find itself receiving national television exposure.  And I was proud to see the CEO of the JDRF, Jeffrey Brewer, giving the rundown on why type 1 diabetes deserves the attention of the nation.  This show helped the diabetes community, and our message, reach outside of the bubble.

TOD.  Tod?  Aka "Type One Diabetes?"  With Bozell pitching "TOD" as a character for the nation to rally against and hate, I was more than a little eh on this.  I'm not best friends with my diabetes, but I don't want to foster any additional rage or hate for it.  For me, that would lead to resentment, and it's already earned too much of that from me after twenty-five years.  I don't want to wear a t-shirt that says "I (Don't") Heart TOD."  Diabetes is a disease.  I don't want it personified, because then I'd want to hunt Tod down and punch him in the face.

"One Less Prick."  This tagline, constructed by Muse, is sassy.  But immediately makes me think of a wiener or someone I can't stand to be around.  (Or maybe both.)  Which isn't the perception I want society having of my disease.  I know I like to laugh at the fact that the pancreas is shaped like a wiener.  I also make really terrible jokes with my friends about this disease.  But when it comes to public perception of type 1 diabetes, I don't want double entendres and snickers (not that kind) dominating discussion.  Diabetes is a disease, and one that needs funding for research and a cure.  I think "One Less Prick" is a powerful message, but I didn't feel it was one that would change, or inspire, public perception.  However, if it was a campaign aimed at people already familiar with diabetes, I think it would have been a clever one.

Be the Voice of 1.  Okay, so (SPOILER) this was part of the winning pitch from Bozell.  Their campaign, Be the Voice of 1, has a website culling Tweets hosting certain keywords (seems like "JDRF" and "T1D" will earn you a spot on their "wall), encourages people to text a donation (yay!) to JDRF, and includes a video showing how T1D affects so many different demographics. 

"It was bigger than a campaign for JDRF; it was a campaign for type 1 diabetes," said Jeffrey Brewer.  Personally, I don't think it was a bad start, regardless of who they chose, because the campaign already scored legs by being introduced on a television show.  What happens next remains to be seen, though.  It's hard for me to see the forest for the trees in this kind of situation, because I'm already intimately familiar with type 1 diabetes.  Would this campaign grab me if I was Polly Workin'-Panc, strolling by a subway stop in NYC?  Would I stop and look twice if I made my own insulin?  What makes a media message about diabetes stand out to people who aren't intrinsically tuned in? 

Media campaigns can only take a message so far.  It's up to our community, and our supporters, to follow through on these messages with as much advocacy, fundraising, and passion as we can muster.  I'm only the voice of my own type 1 diabetes, but if we all raise our voices together, we can really make a difference.  I hope to see this campaign raise some real awareness.


I work in advertising and creative and stuff, so The Pitch usually grosses me out ("What we do is SO serious and important!"), but I watched this one.

As my boss would say, the "Prick" idea was a case of "everyone's laughing except for the audience." It was like the creatives came up with one thing that they thought was kind of funny, and then tried to convince everyone that it was awesome.

I mean really -- if you ask any T1D what challenges they face in life, or what their biggest concerns are, or why they want a cure for this disease, I'd be really surprised if that person listed "finger pricks" in the top 3.

I LOVED the Bozell guy who had "no patience for bad ideas."

I thought the One Less Prick tagline was offensive. Bozell's reinforcing the word One was good. But I felt that the focus needs to be on a cure. "One Day. One Cure. Type One Diabetes." is better than "Be the voice of 1" And TOD is a guy... The message has to be about a cure. People think diabetes is cured with insulin or exercise. It isn't.

Hey Scott Bishop - I accidentally deleted your comment. :( I'm so sorry! Can you resubmit?

Gosh. The prick idea and the TOD one are missing the point (Jacquie's comment actually speaks to my sentiments-as well as what you wrote about it). Be the voice of 1 is a good message but I also am thinking about what Kurt commented. That's a good point. I think a gets the facts campaign on type 1 diabetes would be nice. People are missing the most basic element of type 1-the simple facts. Maybe we should start there...

I wrote about The Pitch today too.

Giving diabetes "the finger" and the double entendre of the word "prick" are fun and edgy but have the risk of offended some of the population they are meant to serve.

For example, I would not feel comfortable using either phrase around my mom or my young niece and nephews.

Wait. Polly Workin'-Panc? Did I miss her grand introduction? Because that name is brilliant.

To the post, I think you hit the point dead on that people intimately involved with the disease may respond differently, and likely more positively to something like "one less prick". The problem is that we're already motivated. It's gotta be tough trying to find a way to make any disease stand out among the many others seeking attention and eventually funding. As a rallying call to existing PWDs, that may be the perfect pitch, but it may be a bit much for the uninformed.

(still laughing at Polly Workin'-Panc)

Kerri - I seem to agree with just about everything that you just wrote. I think that the national exposure is the most important part here no matter what campaign was selected. I actually watch The Pitch every week because I work in the same field of work and it also disgusts me how agency work is portrayed on the show, but I think they did a good job editing Mr. Brewer's parts and getting good information about diabetes out there. Good review and insights.

Happy Bozell won and I think they did a great job throughout the air date to spread the message. But regardless of the agency selected, the real winner was meant to be JDRF. We hoped it got some national exposure to a terrible disease.

As being the guy with "no patience for bad ideas" as a previous commenter mentioned...I'm way less crabby in real life. :) But thanks for the shout!

I'd been watching The Pitch since it started, so I was psyched to see an episode focusing on JDRF and Type 1.

The other pitches were lame and kind of insulting, as others have said, but I though the winning pitch was on target.

Considering how many people are diagnosed with Type 1 during childhood, that whole one less prick thing seemed especially ill advised.

I hope this new slogan and campaign will raise awareness and fund raising to new heights.

didn't see it, but I like the idea of 'voice'. I think it's one way to put the challenges of type 1 out there without resorting to the scary tactics of complications and sad adorable 'broken' children!

Funny, but this campaign sounds almost identical to my daughter's elementary school theme this year, The Power of One. And they didn't even have a high-fallutin' ad agency to drive it. Color me unimpressed.

"One Less Prick" was my campaign slogan.

Post a comment

(All comments are moderated. Thanks for your patience!)