Big Blue Test 2010: the numbers and the lessons

So November (diabetes awareness month) is over and the Big Blue Test event we held this year is also behind us. We are so proud and happy about the results that I wanted to share them here, so we could all celebrate together as a TuDiabetes family!
The BG numbers
The memories and the excitement of 2009 were still fresh in everyone’s mind. And it was exciting all over again to discover the impact that 14 minutes of exercise can have on blood sugars.
1,154 people entered their BG numbers on (you can enter your numbers any time you want, even if it’s not World Diabetes Day!):
  • The median BG before exercising was 133.6 mg/dL
  • The median BG after exercising was 111.6 mg/dL
The median change was -19 mg/dL (a 14% drop)

157 people entered their BG numbers on (in Spanish):
  • The median BG before exercising was 129 mg/dL
  • The median BG after exercising was 110 mg/dL
The median change was -17 mg/dL (a 13% drop)

The video numbers
This year we promoted the Big Blue Test through a very special video. Roche committed to donate $0.75 for each time the video got viewed, for the first 100,000 views. This would add up to $75,000 should we reach or pass 100,000 views before the end of Nov. 14, World Diabetes Day.
The video was translated into Spanish, Portuguese, French and German, expanding the number of people who could watch it, understand the message and share it around the world.

We also relied on many partners to get the word out about it: diabetes partners, nonprofit partners as well as media partners. This included Roche. Besides making the donation in connection to the number of views, they also gave more visibility to the video by including it as part of a box that appeared on the home page of all their affiliate sites in the days leading up to World Diabetes Day. You can read more about the partnerships that drove success for the Big Blue Test on this blog post by John Haydon.
Ultimately it was ALL of you who saw the video that made the project a success! Here’s a beautiful comment from a mother of a 6-year old girl with type 1 diabetes about the video:
“I showed [the video] to my daughter… and she was thrilled. She was so excited to see people just like her doing so many amazing things and when I explained that it was to help other people that didn’t have the same support she did, she wanted to watch it over and over again. Thank you for simplify the message that anything is still possible, because when you are 6 I think seeing is believe.”
The impact on others
What impact did the views have?
Maybe you know the story by now, but in case you don’t, the video has accumulated more than 123,000 views and we passed 100,000 views some time between Nov. 13 and Nov. 14 (depending on where in the world you live). So we reached the goal!
As a result of this, Roche will soon be sending their donation of $75,000 to the Diabetes Hands Foundation. Of these funds, $74,000 will be regranted to two charities:
Both are humanitarian programs that assist children with diabetes in need in third world countries (at times, Insulin For Life works with Life For a Child to source particular needs). Based on their past record track and their past financial reports, we estimated that roughly each of the first 100,000 views (the ones that counted towards the donation) translated into approximately one week’s worth of insulin given to a child in need.
So, if you do the math, nearly 2,000 children
will be getting a year’s worth of insulin
as a result of this initiative.

This comment shared by one of the viewers of the video sums it up very well:
“So many people think diabetes as ‘sad’ because of the need for shots and finger pricks. But for all too many, it is a death sentence as they can’t afford the life saving drug called insulin. We have the power to change that reality.”

We have the power and we used it! We did it, you guys! We did it!

I want to make sure to thank a few people by name before wrapping up this post about Big Blue Test 2010:

  • David Edelman from, Riva Greenberg from and Boudewijn Bertsch: for being such amazing production partners.
  • Sean Ross: for working his MAGIC directing, shooting, editing and motion designing the video.
  • Andreina Davila, from Diabetes Hands Foundation: for her acute eye and opportune feedback that shaped the creative direction of the video.
  • Rob Muller (Social Media Consultant at Roche) and Todd Siesky (PR Manager at Roche): for championing the project from the beginning at Roche.

Why Malcolm Gladwell is Wrong!

A few weeks ago, Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, wrote in The New Yorker about Twitter, Facebook and social media. In his article, near the end he argued:

[Social media] makes it easier for activists to express themselves, and harder for that expression to have any impact.

I have enjoyed many of Gladwell’s books and highly respect him. But I think he got this one wrong. The best example of this is this year’s Big Blue Test video:

We asked the community (the diabetic blogosphere, nonprofit geeks, friends, family… you name it) to watch this video and share it, because (literally), each view equals a donation that will help a child with diabetes in need.

How is this possible? Roche Diabetes Care will make a donation of 75 cents for every view the video receives between Nov. 1 and Nov. 14 (World Diabetes Day) up to 100,000 views, for a maximum donation of $75,000. These funds will be donated to the Diabetes Hands Foundation and they will use the donation to help the Life for a Child program, run by the International Diabetes Federation, and Insulin For Life, two global, humanitarian organizations that provide diabetes medication and supplies to children in the world’s poorest countries.

What kind of impact can $75,000 make for these programs? Ron Raab, President of Insulin For Life told us:

“Every time someone watches this video, it will make a real contribution to someone actually staying alive. These donations go a long, long way. In places we assist, like Ecuador, less than 50 dollars keeps a person needing insulin alive for an entire year as it covers the transport cost for us to send the donated insulin.”

What has the response to the campaign been so far?
Amazing! We’re about to hit 70,000 views, 700 likes and 300 comments and have five more days ahead of us to reach the 100,000 views goal. On Twitter, there have been more than 2,200 tweets including #bigbluetest in the past 7 seven days.

By the time, the donation is made, the lives of thousands of children with diabetes in need will have been saved. If THAT is not making an impact, then I don’t know what to say to Gladwell… So, if you have not watched the video yet, please check out the Big Blue Test video. If you have watched it, take a couple of minutes and watch it again. Regardless, watch it and share it.

And if you are Malcolm Gladwell and you are reading this… please watch it and share it too! 😉

As of Nov. 19, 2010, the video had been watched nearly 120,000 times. We reached the goal of 100,000 the evening of Saturday, Nov. 13 and Roche will be making the donation of $75,000 they pledged to help children with diabetes in need.