Novo Nordisk And Paula Deen Why?Click Here for Additional Resources

A conversation with Ambre Morley (see bio), Associate Director, Product Communications, Novo Nordisk, who talks about why her company teamed up with celebrity chef Paula Deen as a spokesperson for type 2 diabetes treatment.

Aired LIVE on: Wednesday, January 18, 2012

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It’s official! Deen is now shilling for Novo Nordisk. Yes, she’s being paid for her new role with the drugmaker, Deen says.

Deen uses Novo Nordisk’s Victoza, a once-daily, non-insulin injection that may improve blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes when used along with diet and exercise.

It appears that Deen will NOT change her lifestyle — ie, eating habits — much to encourage PREVENTION of type 2 diabetes.

“Type 2 diabetes is like ‘Russian roulette’ when it comes to whom it’s going to strike, Deen says. ‘It’s about heredity. It’s about age, lifestyle, race. I’m the only one in my family who has it. My grandmother cooked and ate like I ate, and she didn’t have it.’

“Deen says she’s not going to change the focus of her cooking shows because of diabetes. ‘I suspect I’ll stick to my roots but will say a little louder, Eat this in moderation.'”

Here’s Paula eating a donut-bacon-hamburger sandwich in “moderation:”

Is Novo Nordisk abandoning life style changes it has supported in the past?

Questions/Topics Discussed

  • Why did Novo Nordisk decide to work with Paula Deen as a spokesperson? Did she or her agents approach you? Give us the history of how this relationship came to be
  • Doesn’t her “baggage” of being a chef who features foods like a fried-egg bacon burger on a glazed doughnut bun (see video above) make her a questionable spokesperson for type 2 diabetes for which fatty, sugary diets are a known risk factor? I note that 80% (305) readers polled by the WSJ Blog say that Deen is NOT a good choice as a pharma-industry spokeswoman for diabetes awareness. What do you say to that?
  • You said that Deen is using Victoza. Can you tell us how long Ms. Deen has been on Victoza?
  • Will Deen — like racecar Charlie Kimbill, another Novo Nordisk paid diabetes spokesperson — tweet about her treatment (branded or otherwise)?
  • Now that Deen is a paid spokesperson, how does Novo Nordisk review or approve what she says on shows like the Today Show where she claimed that she has always recommended to her fans to eat “in moderation”? It doesn’t appear that she has given that advice in the video shown on this page. Generally, what control does Novo Nordisk have over what Deen says from now on about diabetes and her treatment?
  • Are decisions to hire celebrities made solely by the marketing team or is upper management required to sign-off on such deals?
  • How much is Paula Deen and her sons being paid by Novo Nordisk?

Guest Bio

Ambre MorleyAmbre Morley is responsible for public relations and issues management of Novo Nordisk’s insulin portfolio and its biopharmaceutical division in the U.S. Since her arrival at the company in August 2008, Morley’s achievements include securing a new spokesperson for two of the company’s products: a young racecar driver with type 1 diabetes. This partnership has been successful in raising awareness that diabetes does not “slow you down” in life, and also led to the creation of the industry’s first pharmaceutical-branded Twitter page. She joined Novo Nordisk in August 2008. Morley graduated summa cum laude from Tennessee State University.

Additional Resources