September 29th, 2013
Welcome to the New Face of Big Pharma Marketing
By Joan Voight
Justin, a 12-year-old with Type 1 diabetes, just started middle school and was bummed he had to regularly check his blood sugar between periods while his pals rushed to the next class. It’s exactly the kind of everyday problem that drives parents of diabetic kids batty. But Justin figured out a solution by inventing a game called “Fantasy Diabetes,” modeled after Fantasy Football. Fourteen of his classmates promptly signed up, and twice a week they gather around Justin after class, guess what his blood sugar is going to be before he tests it, and earn points for the best guess.
Justin’s mom suggests the idea to other families, not in a diabetes support group but via Spoonful.com, created by Disney Publishing and pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, a producer of insulin and diabetes drugs. Spoonful.com doesn’t look at all like a pharmaceutical website. Rather, it is punctuated with playful branded stories, games and tips to help young diabetic patients and their families manage the disease.