Diabetes UK poster
ad in the virtual
world of Second Life

Diabetes UK has taken its Silent Assassin campaign into Second Life. Virtual posters have been put up around the 3D virtual world to inform its 15 million “residents” about the campaign, which seeks to raise awareness of how diabetes can cause a range of other conditions that leading a healthier lifestyle can help to control.

The posters allow user avatars to teleport themselves to the Diabetes UK virtual building; a new “headquarters” on Manchester Island. The use of Second Life supports a “real life” advertising campaign, information on the charity’s website and pages on social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Bebo.

“People now get their information from more diverse sources,” said Graeme Manuel, Diabetes UK web editor. “So it’s vital that we expand our communications channels to mirror this and better reach our target groups.”

A spokesperson for the charity added that opening a headquarters in Second Life raised the possibility of holding virtual events in it.

“As a multinational and regional organisation, it is good to have places in which people can get together to share ideas and thoughts, even if it is virtual. This is just the start of the work we may do in Second Life and we plan to update and expand as the community grows.”

The Silent Assassin campaign tells people that diabetes can cause heart disease, stroke, amputations, kidney failure and blindness. However, it also promotes awareness of how living a healthier lifestyle and improving diabetes control can reduce the risk of developing these serious complications.

Press information released for the start of the campaign last week says that diabetes is one of the biggest health challenges facing the NHS, with about 10 per cent of its spending going on the disease and its complications – £9 billion a year or £1m an hour.


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