November 12, 2009

Hi Nate

(A friend of the guy who sent the email posted a comment below pleading Nate's case as being sucked in by the markting firm. Seemed reasonable so Nate is off the hook and out of the post.)

I am glad you love YDMV.

I hate your ad.

It is total crap.

It is a stereotypical blame game piece of self-righteous garbage. Do you make ads blaming kids with leukemia too?

You said you can’t imagine my families struggles. You sure can’t.

One of the things that you can’t imagine is how hurtful it is when uninformed self appointed media volunteer parachutes into the public discourse on diabetes with fatuous and highly judgmental misconceptions about what our lives are like.

While type 2 is rising with younger americans, most of the children with diabetes in our country have type 1. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease. Even wikipedia knows of type 1 that “most affected people are otherwise healthy and of a healthy weight when onset occurs.”

Your piece is crude sensationalism. It promotes misconceptions that says more about your ignorance than anything salient about diabetes. Clearly Serve Marketing is more concerned with being a provocateur for it’s own self aggrandizement than doing anything useful to promote understand of how devastating diabetes is.

Your email spoke of a lack of understanding and the need for a wake up call. Both are very true. You suffer from the former and need the later.

You are looking for a viral response to you video. I expect you will get one but not exactly what you expect.


Read the email and watch the video. Let me know if I understated my reply. If I did, feel free to drop an email yourself.

Here's his email that sparked this:

From: Nate Date: Thursday, November 12, 2009, 6:46 PM

Hello Bennet,
I am writing you to tell you that I really enjoyed reading your blog. I can not even imagine the struggles you and your family go through on a daily basis. I loved your post about your son the Jedi. I am glad that with his condition he can still just be a kid. I also really liked your breakdown of the new Bayer Contour USB device. You are the first blogger that I have found that has gone over new technology. It was very refreshing.

My name is Nathan and I am a volunteer for Serve Marketing. Serve Marketing is a non profit organization that does marketing and advertising work for social causes. This month is American Diabetes Month and Serve Marketing has created a viral video ad to raise the awareness of diabetes in children. Everyone is aware of diabetes, but few people understand how devastating the disease can be. We believe that people need a wake up call on this issue. The first step in changing the behavior of people is to make them aware of the issue

This is a web-only public service announcement designed to catch parents off guard and let them know about the devastating consequences of diabetes and encourage them to find out the steps they can take to help prevent it. We are looking for opinions from diabetes bloggers such as yourself. So if you could please take a look at the ad and tell me what you think it would be much appreciated.

Thank you so much for your time



  1. OMG Bennet, you said it nicer then me! That is the worst things I have ever seen. THANK GOD it is only online and not the masses! Nate get a new job. Yours is a joke and so is the company you work for!!! I know I am not the only person that will be upset about this! Do you have an email that we can use to write him Bennet?? I love to let them know how I feel!

  2. Bennet,

    I received this as well and it is form of Guerilla marketing to generate traffic to their website and youtube video page. They want us to all put it on our blogs so it will go viral. I didn't put it on my blog. I wouldn't put that piece of shit on my website.

    having something like this go viral would totally piss me off, we all try to educate and raise awareness about diabetes and some crap like this is everything opposite of what we all stand for.

    I would urge you to take it down but, you don't have to listen to me. :)

  3. Gina,

    I think ignoring these kinds of ads is far more damaging then acknowledging them. If we don't stand up and say - "This is wrong. This is not OK." Who will?

    These ads exist. Their impact is felt by every Type 1 kid who is told by some ignorant teacher, peer, parent, coach that they could be cured if they just...

    We need to, as a community, draw attention to the issue to these blatant lies. We need to draw a big black circle around these things and say "NO. NO. NO. NO. This IS not acceptable. We will NOT allow this."

    How are people to know this is the opposite of what we stand for if we stand idly by? How are people supposed to know this is the opposite of what we stand for if we don't stand up for ourselves?

    Let's not hand the power off to this sham of a company: let's take it. Let's own it. Let's MAKE this site go viral: send it to everyone you know. Send it to them and let them know that it is not Ok. That it is not appropriate. That it is not something you agree with.

    Let's not give these people the satisfaction of our silence.

  4. Gina

    We all get our share and I agree that dignifying this is potentially a mistake. I think I fall inline with Kelley and don't want to leave the space just to them. I hope there is a chance of a viral backfire. YDMV.

  5. In recognition of World Diabetes Day (WDD), let us remember that it is becoming an excuse to be ignorant about diabetes for the other 364 days a year! Thanks for the wake-up call!!

  6. I would like to time travel to a point where that video doesn't exist. Not only do people not "get it" but WOW - they REALLY don't get it.

    Kind response.

  7. Not only is the video promoting misinformation....but it's pathetic. Using sexual innuendo to promote awareness.........missed the mark BIG TIME!

  8. My son (3 years old) was diagnosed three months ago and upon learning the difference between type 1 and type 2 my first though was THEN WHY THE HELL ARE THEY CALLED THE SAME THING? I think as Type 2 takes up more of our mental space as the childhood disease of overweight kids raised on junk food, there needs to be a serious effort to "rebrand" type 1 and distinguish it. Especially now that there are major government education campaigns around "preventing diabetes."

    As a health communications profession, What I find really shocking is that an ad agency (I am assuming since the piece looks pretty slick) would email you after the ad is produced. First, your site has nothing to do with type 2/prevention and, second because normally they focus-group the hell of out these things with thought-leaders BEFORE they spend the gajillion dollars producing it.

    The sad thing is I don't think many people outside the type 1 community will see this ad as offensive because they don't understand the difference between the two diseases.

    Love your blog.

  9. Oh the video made me cry (and not for the right reasons I might add) - it made me cry cause that's what everyone already DOES think about my 7 year old with Type 1. It's what the predominant notion is out there, about how one 'catches' diabetes from all the fat, not good for you food. For God's sake, my daughter weights a mere 50 pounds and when they know she has Type 1 - the response is - does she eat a lot of sugar?? WHAT???

    What do they think they are going to change with this ad? Sure it might shock, but in the end, change behavior? I'm not on board with that.

    I think the ad execs don't know anyone with diabetes - Type 1 or Type 2. Oh, and I also think they have their heads up their you-know-whats.

  10. Hey Bennet & Kelley,

    I totally felt like you guys at first and I wanted to send it to everyone I knew. But, I sat back for a minute and felt I didn't want to promote any more misinformation about diabetes and by spreading it to more people I felt as though I was promoting it for the company for free which is exactly what they want.

    And trust me I love a good fight. Most of the D-OC knows that haha.

    I have written to the company twice already. And urged them to make a video that is inspiring and more informative instead of insulting to our community.

    I hear what you are both are saying though. As Bennet states YDMV! haah

    You guys rock though.


  11. Hi all,

    I am a friend of the guy who sent this email to

    Please do not direct the hate toward the guy who wrote the email but toward the uninformed company that created this disastrous piece of misinformation.

    Nate volunteered his time to what he thought was a legitimate campaign to spread awareness of diabetes. Obviously he was not well informed about the types of diabetes and the factors relating to them before he joined on as a volunteer.

    He sincerely thought he was helping but was taken advantage of in the process. The sad part is that when this occurs, it often discourages people from volunteering again in the future.

    I encourage you to remove his email and name from your blog post and direct the commentary toward Serve Marketing. They obviously didn't do any research or focus groups involving those affected by type-1 diabetes or else this piece would never have made it past a meeting room.

    The guy behind the email is an innocent bystander and should not be criticized for sincerely helping a campaign he thought was doing some good for the world.