Diabetes Care 2.0

Move over, Wilford Brimley. There's a fresh face in diabetes marketing. Brimley a character actor who appeared in hit movies such as The Firm and The China Syndrome has long been the go-to spokesman for diabetes medication and services. His ads for Liberty Medical Supply, a home-delivery company, are well-known to a generation of television viewers, to the point where his pitches have been subject

Move over, Wilford Brimley. There's a fresh face in diabetes marketing.

Brimley — a character actor who appeared in hit movies such as “Coccoon,” “The Firm” and “The China Syndrome” — has long been the go-to spokesman for diabetes medication and services. His ads for Liberty Medical Supply, a home-delivery company, are well-known to a generation of television viewers, to the point where his pitches have been subject to good-natured cartoon parodies.

But it's no longer a one-man show. Diabetes has a new face these days, one that's more recognizable to the ever-growing population of young sufferers of the disease. Nick Jonas, one of the three singing Jonas Brothers, recently became a spokesman for Bayer's new series of children- and teen-friendly glucose-monitoring systems. One, called the Contour, is a USB meter that plugs directly into a PC or Mac, and provides a whole new way of tracking blood glucose levels in a medium that young people can better relate to. Yet another system, the Didget, connects to the Nintendo DS and DS Lite gaming systems. In this case, the unpleasant task of testing is somewhat mitigated by the game-like program, which rewards kids “for building consistent testing habits and meeting personalized blood glucose target ranges,” according to the company.

Jonas, born with type 1 diabetes in 1992, was signed by the pharmaceutical giant to be a diabetes ambassador. Earlier this year, Jonas and Bayer announced the “Give Back, Simply Win” contest. Three grand prize winners were able to meet the singing sensation and have $5,000 donated to a charity of their choice.