Dexcom and Abbott battle for diabetes device market share in dueling DTC ad campaigns

Dexcom g6
Increasing diabetes diagnoses have triggered a boom in sales for continuous glucose monitors, and a battle for market share is playing out in TV ads. (Dexcom)

It’s buff versus buffet in the latest DTC ad battle of continuous glucose monitors.

While Dexcom continues its blood-sugar monitoring campaign with musician and heartthrob Nick Jonas, Abbott takes a decidedly different approach, featuring middle-aged everyday people perusing food buffet choices as they work to keep their diabetes in check.

Dexcom's effort continues its six-year partnership with Jonas brother Nick in its newest “Stuff to Do" ad. The commercial features “Dexcom Warrior” Jonas, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 13, doing all the things you’d imagine a singer/actor/heartthrob doing, all while wearing his Dexcom G6.

From glamorous photo shoots and working out at the gym to pingpong games and recording music in the studio, the quick style jumps and cuts fuel the energetic vibe of the spot.

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Meanwhile, Abbott takes a more practical approach for its “Now You Know” campaign. Three 30-second ads each star everyday people who benefit while using their FreeStyle Libre devices.

Ray, for instance, an overweight dad on vacation in one ad, passes up the not-so-healthy food on the buffet line by the pool. In another ad, an older woman named Helen tries to figure out what exercise is right for her. A third TV ad features Paul, struggling to figure out what food he can eat while managing his diabetes.

Shot in a comical frenetic style, the Freestyle spots feature the distinctive voice of actor Richard Kind as narrator, whose earnestness compliments the quirky visuals of the ads.

The upshot of the ads is patients using Freestyle Libre devices to learn how to turn the “No” into “Know.”

Both campaigns emphasize the lack of finger sticks needed when using a continuous glucose monitoring—an important benefit for those who previously had to prick their fingers at least twice a day.

The competition is likely just heating up as both Dexcom and Abbott prep updated versions of their products for release soon.

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The campaigns target the growing diabetes market. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates more than 30 million Americans have diabetes, an increase of over 4 million people in the last decade.

Not surprisingly, the diabetes diagnosis growth triggered a boom in sales of continuous glucose monitors. Dexcom reported $1.93 billion in revenue for 2020, a 31% increase over the previous year.

Abbott recently touted its FreeStyle Libre system as the more affordable option of the continuous glucose monitors in a press release, saying it is “priced at a third of the cost of other available continuous glucose monitoring systems” and emphasizing health equity.