NOT IN GOOD TASTE. MARKET LEADER STOOPS TO AN ALL TIME LOW – HINGES ON GREED TO SELL GLUCOMETERS. There are multiple headlines that I can think of for this ad released by the company in question. There are 2 reasons that an ad of this nature may have got conceived:

1. The entire team, ad agency included, didn’t have a single diabetic working on the account and has no clue how diabetics think and get conditioned over a period of time. You should have reached out; you will find at least one diabetic in each home.
2. The team understands, but lacks empathy and does not care if this ad does an immense amount of disservice to diabetics who read it and take the message at face-value.

Whatever the reason, as a diabetic I would like to point out why this ad doesn’t work for patients in an eco-system which should intrinsically be ethical:

  1. Most of us live in self-pity. We are waiting for a reason, an opportunity to eat something that is in the ‘DO-NOT-EAT’ list.
  2. Many of us are grossly unaware of the concept of portion control.
  3. Many of us are not aware of the positives of aligning our intake to the time of the day.
  4. A lot of us may not know the complications arising out of sustained high blood sugar levels.
  5. Most of us live in denial for a long time and assume that complications if at all will hit us in the very long run. And that we feel is okay.
  6. We feel that ‘God’ has been very unkind to us.
  7. Retinopathy, neuropathy, nephropathy, gastroparesis, loss of hearing, lower-limb amputation,dialysis are words not understood and hence fear as a positive motivation has not set in yet.

In this context what will a diabetic take out of this ad – That “I can eat mangoes”. I don’t want to even go in the direction of the glycaemic index or load of mangoes. Or the harmful manner in which Indians consume mangoes when they are in season. Also diabetics in general are high-inertia individuals. Forget home testing.Tell me how many of us are eager to do an hba1c once in 3 long months. Not too many.

Now here’s why the ad doesn’t work for you as a company:

You are talking to a largely un-evolved and contextually uneducated audience. Diabetics will take this ad literally. Almost like permission granted. They will eat mangoes, check their blood sugars, and find them dangerously high on YOUR or other glucometers. You will be seen in a very negative context, in a highly negative moment-of-truth.

The result – Diabetics will stop testing but still continue eating mangoes. And the incremental that you expect to make on strips and lancets will not happen. FEAR WILL REPLACE GREED. :). I hope you DO NOT have more in this campaign with ‘pizzas’, ‘burgers’ etc.

Instead of taking a high-ground, and making home-testing and glycaemic control the core idea in a series of educational ads, you have stooped very low and taken to the cheapest form of product advertising.

Do not take ‘GREED for food’ as the platform to target diabetics and sell your product. If you have the guts and the ethics…find the right way to help the Indian diabetic.