Why Nick Jonas’s Dexcom Super Bowl Ad Is A Slap In The Face To Diabetics Everywhere

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Nick Jonas

The 2021 Super Bowl takes place on Sunday, February 7, and while many sports fans will be rooting for their respective teams, tons of viewers tune in for something else other than football: the iconic Super Bowl ads. 

This year, Nick Jonas — who lives with Type 1 diabetes — is teaming up with diabetes technology company Dexcom in order to raise awareness about the chronic illness that millions of Americans live with.

Dexcom is one of the companies that makes continuous glucose monitors — technology that tremendously helps those living with diabetes monitor their blood sugar in realtime, thus eliminating the amount of times one has to prick their finger to check their blood sugar.

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“Too many people with diabetes suffer through painful, antiquated fingerpricks because they don’t know a better way exists," Jonas said

"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,” he added.

While some people are praising both Jonas and Dexcom for their Super Bowl ad spot, many people who live with diabetes aren’t happy about their commercial. 

Here’s the thing: most Americans living with any type of chronic illness know that medications, medical supplies, and basically any supplies you have to get from a pharmacy are expensive as hell — even with insurance. 

Those who live with diabetes shell out tens of thousands of dollars per year just to stay alive.

Between the cost of supplies, the cost of insulin, and the cost of basic diabetes technology, people with diabetes are often spending their last pennies on diabetes-related items.

Dexcom sensors, which come in a pack of three and last for ten days each, cost around $350 — and that’s just for one month’s worth of supplies. Multiply that by twelve, and you're up to $4200 per year, just on technology that can — and will — save a diabetic's life.

Many social media users and fellow diabetics pointed out the hypocrisy of placing an ad — for millions of dollars, might I add — for technology that many people can’t even afford. 

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“The ad slot alone, excluding production costs or payment for Nick Jonas, is estimated to be $5.6 million. 5.6 million / $349, the retail price of a box of 3 sensors, is 16,046 boxes rounding up from .8. 16,0456 * 3 = 48,183 sensors,” one Twitter user wrote. “48,183 sensors at retail price paid for this ad.”

Another Twitter user echoed the above sentiment, writing in a series of tweets:

“We are living in a country where 1/4 people can’t afford their insulin, let alone additional tools to manage a lifelong disease.  We have serious healthcare disparity, that has been amplified over the past year, as people have lost jobs and health insurance due to the pandemic.

Dexcom should have used that money to donate to families in need of supplies. A CGM allows a bit of piece [sic] of mind, it allows us to sleep at night — things that allow the mental burden of this disease to be a little less. This is a device that every patient should be able to access.”

While Nick Jonas’s Dexcom Super Bowl ad is a step in the right direction to call for better care for people living with diabetes, it’s simply not enough.

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Yes, there should be more widespread education about the disease that affects millions of Americans — of course there should be.

But in order for those living with diabetes to have the care they need, continuous glucose monitors, like the ones Dexcom makes, need to be accessible and affordable to everyone. 

If Dexcom can afford to place an ad during one of the biggest television events of the year, they can afford to make their products accessible to all. 

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Olivia Jakiel is an editor and writer who covers celebrity and entertainment news. Follow her on Instagram and keep up with her zingers on Twitter