Diabetes Gets a Beating


Can gamification for part of a communication strategy with medical professionals? In this campaign, we got doctors into the ring to fight to be the best against diabetes.


The goal of Novartis was to become known as the leading pharmaceutical company for the treatment of diabetes. To achieve this, the company needed to develop close, lasting relationships with doctors. The challenge was to create a campaign that would allow Novartis and its delegates to really connect with doctors in a very competitive and highly regulated sector. Doctors, who are under increasing pressure, highly value training, which helps them in their daily professional lives, curing and caring for their patients. Traditional pharmaceutical training initiatives were serious and impersonal, offering little chance of creating meaningful connections. We believed we could change this.


We created a campaign based on training and information, packed with passion and emotion. By understanding the target audience, not simply as professionals committed to improving their knowledge, but also as people, competitive and passionate about improving patient care, we were able to turn training on its head.



Our campaign, ‘Diabetes Gets a Beating’, took its inspiration from boxing, one of the most passionate sports, and was developed over two phases:


  • AN ONLINE GAMING PORTAL: Doctors registered in teams and began their pre-fight training and warm-up rounds. The website was packed with information on diagnosing and treating type 2 diabetes, and the teams took part in the online round of the fight by answering questions that tested their knowledge.
  • ROUND TWO – THE LIVE EVENT: We created a live event to further engage with doctors. This second phase brought the top 100 teams to Madrid to ‘face off’ in a purpose-built boxing ring. The tension mounted as the teams competed over three rounds, and the finalists met on the mat in a head-to-head, qualitative debate about the treatment of a clinical case.  With commentary by a famous TV presenter, who had been recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the teams fought it out to be crowned the heavyweight champion and win further training at one of the world’s most advanced research facilities in the USA.



The campaign completely changed the way Novartis engaged with doctors. Doctors were fired up about the ‘Diabetes Gets a Beating’ challenge and delegates had a valuable reason to visit doctors on a regular basis and to capture new leads.

Participating teams
Boxing gloves
Participant satisfaction
B Corp