Cannes Lions


OGILVY, New York / AD COUNCIL / 2018

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In the US, 84 million people have prediabetes – or about 1 in 3 adults. Of these individuals, 90% don’t know they have it, or even know that “prediabetes” is a real, diagnosable condition. We worked with the Ad Council to create an awareness PSA that would effectively inform our target population (adults at high risk: ages 40-65, higher than average weight, and racially diverse) and drive them to our website,, to take our online risk test and learn more about prediabetes and next steps.

We spoke with our target, through online forums, focus groups, and in-person ethnographies. We confirmed that they knew nothing about prediabetes, and learned that they were in denial. They knew they could be at risk for conditions like type 2 diabetes, but didn’t want to know and made excuses to avoid getting tested.

We knew our messaging had to emphasize that prediabetes is real and bring the test to them. We also made humor an integral part of our strategy, since we found that scare tactics in health awareness messaging made them feel overwhelmed and powerless.

We made the risk test unavoidable by creating films that were themselves a complete risk test in 60 seconds. The audience could self-diagnose by counting along on their fingers. The tone was light-hearted and featured a comedian playing a doctor who took us through the test. This was a totally different approach from any other PSA, which typically rely on fearmongering to get people to act. Our approach was a trigger to action.

We reached a wide audience. TV and online video were our most effective channels to reach an older and more traditional demographic. PR helped reach new audiences, and a media tour drove awareness and engagement. We were covered by such media outlets as Good Morning America, Dr. OZ, Telemundo, and CBS News to name a few. There were 268 pickups of our press release, reaching a total potential audience of 171.1MM.

This campaign yielded some of the best results for any Ad Council campaign in history.

The campaign has earned $72MM in donated media to date (more than 2.5x our objective). There have been 1.2MM total online video view completions of the real-time test, 2MM unique visitors to the campaign site – 5x the original benchmark, and 620K website test completions – more than 12x the original benchmark.

We raised awareness by 28%, from 50% in 2015 to 64 in Q4 of 2017. And we achieved important increases in ad awareness, and in “seeking information about prediabetes” and “plan to speak to a doctor about prediabetes” among viewers exposed to the ads.

Our campaign pushed creative boundaries by doing something health PSAs have never done before: bring the first step of prediabetes diagnosis into our target’s living rooms, using humor.

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