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Campaign focus: ‘Simple Steps’ to improve diabetic foot health

There are 23 diabetes-related lower limb amputations every day in England alone. This month, Kate Gerrard in our Pharma team explains how our campaign for Flexitol sets out to improve foot health in a hope to reduce this frightening figure.

Did you know that four out of five lower limb amputations are, in fact, preventable? It’s an important message, but one that can be hard to get through to those living with diabetes, and who are already dealing with the many challenges that managing the life-long condition can bring.

So when we were asked by Thornton & Ross brand Flexitol to work on a project that would support people with diabetes and ultimately reduce these statistics, our focus was on how to deliver this sobering message in a way that was impactful and emotional, yet also supportive, hopeful and informative.

We developed Simple Steps, an integrated comms campaign that would bring home the serious consequences of not maintaining healthy feet, and would also provide practical and actionable advice on how to prevent these potentially drastic consequences and enable people with diabetes to take control of their foot health. The campaign launched in early November, ahead of World Diabetes Day.

The emotional impact came in the form of a video, which conveyed the sobering message of the rising number of preventable diabetes-related lower limb amputations. Slowly the camera pans up from a pair of slippered feet, revealing the milestones our feet take us through– our first steps, the first dance at our wedding – before revealing a final destination of amputation, should the right interventions not be taken at the right time.

Attention caught, our next step was to provide the support. We developed a range of materials to show people with diabetes how to look after their feet with a simple daily foot care routine. The website included advice on how often to visit a GP, nurse or podiatrist, and an informational leaflet about diabetic foot care. We also worked with an expert podiatrist Donna Welch who, as well as advising on and reviewing all our materials, authored an article speaking directly to the people who need her advice.

Once we’d created the content, we needed to make sure we’d reach the right people. We partnered with diabetes.co.uk, an online community of people living with diabetes, who were able to help us direct our messages to the people we needed to reach, through their social media channels, e-news and website. We also went wide with our media outreach, placing articles in national consumer titles as well as specialist trade and pharma press.  

We’ve been proud to make a difference to the diabetes community since launch, with over 1,000 visits to the campaign website in the first two days, with a hope that the simple yet impactful message helps reduce the number of diabetes-related lower limb complications in the UK.