Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Give Diabetes, Not JDRF, The Finger

So in the aftermath of yesterday's Type 1 Day, I've seen all kinds of cool things.  We got a shoutout on Twitter from comedian Chelsea Handler.  Mary McCormack, who plays the lead character on USA's In Plain Sight set up a donation page for the JDRF.  If that's not enough, check page three to see a donation from Edward Norton.  Yes, that Edward Norton.  (The first rule of JDRF Club is you don't talk about how you donated to JDRF Club?)  Hell, members of the DOC were featured on MSNBC today!  So proud of all of you, by the way. 

But there is one thing I've noticed in the aftermath that I find to be negative, and that's people's negative attitudes about giving diabetes the finger.  I've seen a couple people saying they found the idea mildly offensive, or they wouldn't want to share this idea with their children.

I don't think telling kids to give diabetes "the finger" was the idea in this campaign.  I'm not saying I'm a marketing professional exactly, but a large portion of my eduation was focused that way.  You don't start a campaign without knowing your target audience.  Many of us in the DOC have remarked time and again that we want the JDRF to remember all of us with Type 1.  Kids with juvenile type 1 diabetes grow up to be adults with type 1 diabetes.  I saw a statistic somewhere online that half of all new diagnoses of T1 are adults. NEWSFLASH: Adults (such as those of us in the DOC) were probably the main target of this campaign!  Maybe older kids as well, who can get in on the joke without actually being offensive. 

"Meg", the star of the Type 1 Day viral video ads, is clearly a young adult.  The ad itself is a commerical parodying 50's and early 60's-style advertising.  This ad is not really aimed at a child, though there is nothing harmful for a child to see in it.  It's obvious to me that the target audience was more like Type 3's, and of course, all the adults with Type 1 that the JDRF has been trying to better serve lately.  JDRF even has a downloadable Type 1 Toolkit for Adults.  For the record, "Meg" looks like the kind of person I'd choose to be pals with.

Maybe this just has something to do with the fact that I have rosy, chubby cheeks, and I enjoy making cheesy faces.  Like this one below.  Also, if anyone is paying attention out there, "Meg", I love your dress!  Where did you get it?  I too have an affinity for flippy skirts and black with bright colors, see?

I could be giving diabetes the finger in this photo and you'd never know it!

And guess what?  I may look cute and bubbly, but I want to give type 1 the finger, and not a big foam one.  Anytime one of us on the DOC says "Duck Fiabetes" on Twitter, we really want to say the other thing, don't we?  Grown-ups, haven't you wanted to just tell diabetes to fuck off?  For me, it's at least once a day.  I personally want to cheer the JDRF for this viral campaign, because it makes me smile and it's real talk for what grown-ups with diabetes think about, presented in a lighthearted way. 

I think the JDRF did this campaign the right way.  Notice how it doesn't have the glossy production values of some of their other videos.  This was not exactly meant to run side-by-side with Nick Jonas and sincere appeals for donations. 

I say we all give diabetes the finger.  Whatever finger we want to.  But I guess if you're too young to get into a rated-R movie without an adult, you may want to stick to the big blue foam ones.  At least cover your finger of choice with a big blue foam one so Mom, Dad and Grandma don't find out. Keep it real, kids. 


  1. Anonymous7:06 PM

    Love hearing your perspective on the campaign today.

    And l-o-v-e your flippy floral skirt :)

  2. Love this! I always feel adults are shafted because we aren't cute :( but happy to see I'm once again, not alone.

  3. fantastic post! i wasn't too crazy about the campaign, but i think you've changed my mind... :)


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