In 1987, Liberty Medical signed Wilford Brimley to be the television spokesperson for the company. Between 1987 and Brimley’s death in 2020, the actor appeared in numerous commercials for the company, pronouncing the word “diabetes” in his signature southern droll (shown below).
On September 27th, 2005, the direct-to-DVD film Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story, an animated movie based on the television series Family Guy, included a parody of Brimley and his commercials (shown below).
The following year, on January 24th, 2006, YouTuber Nathan Eldridge posted the earliest available remix of one of Brimley’s Liberty Mutual commercials. This musical remix, entitled “The Beetis,” received more than 1.9 million views in less than 16 years (shown below, left). The video’s success led to a follow-up, “Wilford Brimley’s Beetix Extravaganza,” published on April 5th. The post received more than 382,000 views in less than 16 years (shown below, right).
Later that year, on July 30th, 2006, YTMND published a page that features the song “Rock Me Amadeus” by Falco with the word “Amadeus” replaced with “Diabeetus.” The post received more than 35,000 views in less than 15 years. Other YTMND sites soon followed.
In addition to remix videos, image macro memes of Brimley’s face and the caption “diabeetus” also grew in popularity. On April 23rd, 2008, an anonymous 4chan posted one of the earliest variations (shown below).