Novo Nordisk's latest diabetes campaign makes small-screen appearance in 'Black-ish' collab

Actor Anthony Anderson continues to crisscross his Type 2 diabetes status from real life to TV show. The star of popular ABC TV show “Black-ish," in partnership with Novo Nordisk, integrated the “Get Real About Diabetes” campaign into a recent show and extended the message out to social media.

In the April 7 episode called “A Game of Chicken,” Novo Nordisk became a client of the fictional ad agency Stevens & Lido, where Anderson’s character Dre works. In the show, Novo’s “Get Real About Diabetes" advertising account is assigned to someone else in the firm. Dre takes issue with that, as he notes he’s the one who actually has Type 2 diabetes. Anderson himself was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 20 years ago.

The message continued on social media, with Anderson in a kind of PSA that’s garnered millions of views. The online video shows Anderson as his character Dre on the TV set of "Black-ish" stepping out of character to talk to patients about getting real about a diabetes management plan. The social media posting across channels has picked up more than 2.3 million views to date.

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The partnership between Anderson and Novo Nordisk—which markets diabetes drugs including Ozempic, Rybelsus and Victoza—began in Dec. 2017 with a “Black-ish” episode in which Dre was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. The opening sequence of that show featured a non-fiction educational walk-through about how and why diabetes affects African Americans more often than others.

Novo and Anderson have since done social media and in-person appearances to talk about Type 2 diabetes realities and disease management and have had “great success with him inspiring the community,” said Michael Bachner, director of communications for Novo Nordisk's diabetes business unit.

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The online diabetes community “really looks to Anthony as a true inspiration and they’re looking for help and support,” he said.

Plans for a national media tour with Anderson and the “Get Real” message were canceled in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, but Novo plans to resume a tour in the fall when it’s safe to do so. In the meantime, digital and social campaign messaging across accounts belonging to Novo Nordisk, Black-ish and Anderson will continue through 2020.