Dexcom is making its Super Bowl Sunday debut with its very first ad for the big game.
The commercial seems to be a huge indication of Dexcom’s growing stature and ambition. Super Bowl commercials are the most widely-watched and discussed ads in the country, and the most expensive, too. In a sense it’s the continuous glucose monitor’s first turn on one of the world’s biggest stages.
The 30-second ad features rock star Nick Jonas, a longtime Type 1 diabetes advocate. Jonas was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 13, and has since been one of the world’s most prominent celebrities with T1D.
In the 30-second bit, Jonas lists technical marvels of our era, from self-driving cars to the Mars rover, and then asks the camera incredulously, “And people with diabetes are still pricking their fingers? What?!?”
You can watch the ad now at DexcomGameday.com.
In a release, Jonas said, “Too many people with diabetes suffer through painful, antiquated fingerpricks because they don’t know a better way exists,” said Jonas. “I truly believe people with diabetes deserve the absolute best care, and that’s really the spirit of my first Super Bowl commercial. It means so much to me to bring this message of awareness and the need for improved CGM access to as many people with diabetes as possible.”
Even in the Type 1 diabetes community, CGM use is far from universal. Insurance providers can still be reluctant to cover the devices, the out-of-pocket cost typically remains high, and many patients simply cannot afford to pay for the G6. The intended audience of the Dexcom Super Bowl ad isn’t just people with diabetes, but also the medical professionals that advocate for them to the insurance companies. The company hopes that by spreading awareness, demands for the technology will grow.
Many before have noted Dexcom’s grand ambitions. The Dexcom G6 has already proved to be the killer app of continuous glucose monitors, and the business has made a huge splash by catering to the relatively niche market of people with Type 1 diabetes. But the company hopes to grow far beyond the Type 1 community. In our 2019 interview with CEO Kevin Sayer, he confirmed that Dexcom is hoping to tap the significantly larger Type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes markets. The commercial notably does not mention “Type 1” or “Type 2.” In the past, Dexcom has estimated that as many as 75% of people with diabetes remain unaware of continuous glucose monitoring technology.
To be sure, it’ll be a weird Super Bowl. Attendance is limited to about one-third of capacity, to allow for distancing between fans. Many of the most reliable and prominent Super Bowl advertisers—including both Pepsi and Coke—are declining to run ads this year. Budweiser, a Super Bowl advertising stalwart, will instead donate the money it would have spent on ad time to coronavirus vaccination relief efforts. Advertisers for traditional products may have a tricky time finding the right tone for this year’s event.
Your own Super Bowl party may be less boisterous than usual this year. If so, Dexcom would like you to consider watching the big game with Nick Jonas, an “an interactive augmented reality experience.” That’s also available at DexcomGameday.com.