Dark Side of Tanning

 

If you think tanning gives you a healthy glow, think again.

  • Tanning and sunburn are skin cells in trauma.
  • One damaged skin cell can start a melanoma growing.
  • A melanoma need only be 1mm deep to spread to other parts of the body.

There is no such thing as a safe tan – whether from the sun or a solarium. Tanning is sign of your skin cells in trauma and the more your skin is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, the greater your risk of skin cancer .

Even if a melanoma is cut out, it can appear months or years later, often in your lung, liver or brain.

The Dark Side of Tanning campaign aims to reach adolescents and young people to increase awareness of the dangers of melanoma and tanning by challenging the misconception that a tan looks healthy and graphically illustrating how a melanoma can spread throughout the body.

Every year in Australia almost 2,000 Australians die from skin cancer, which is tragically the most preventable of all cancers. Australian adolescents have the highest incidence of malignant melanoma in the world and it is also the most common cancer diagnosed in Australians aged 15 to 29.

Research has shown that girls are more likely to deliberately tan compared to boys, however boys are more likely to get sunburnt as they spend time outside in peak UV times and are less likely to use sunscreen. The Dark Side of Tanning campaign seeks to change these behaviours.  

About the campaign

The Dark Side of Tanning campaign aims to address pro-tan attitudes, understanding of the severity of melanoma and knowledge of the link between overexposure to UV radiation and melanoma.

A series of different 'tanner moments' are portrayed, each focusing on a different setting. These advertisements challenge the misconception that a tan looks healthy and graphically illustrate how a melanoma can spread throughout the body. The two 30 second and 15 second television commercials are supported by outdoor media advertisements.

The Dark Side of Tanning campaign is also closely linked to the Wes Bonny story, a testimonial campaign which tells the real life story of 26-year-old Wes Bonny who died of melanoma in March 2010. Both campaigns were developed by the Cancer Institute NSW.

The SunSmart program first implemented the Dark Side of Tanning campaign in Victoria during the summer of 2009–10, with funding from the State Government and VicHealth. Further funding support has seen the campaign repeated every summer from 2010 to 2014.

In Victoria, the Dark Side of Tanning campaign has been successful in challenging pro-tanning attitudes and reporting behavioural change in the target audiences, with young people reporting that they were less likely to get a suntan after watching the TVC and more likely to increase their level of sun protection. Results also suggest that while tanning continues to have widely positive associations, the campaign has contributed to the understanding that tanning is not healthy.

2015 summer SunSmart campaign

The Dark Side of Tanning campaign will be broadcast for the sixth consecutive year in Victoria this summer. Over the past six years, the campaign has strongly communicated the severity of melanoma and the health consequences of overexposure to UV.

The Dark Side of Tanning 15 second ads will feature on metro and regional TV commencing on Sunday 25 January, along with the Wes Bonny Story. This activity will be supported by radio, print and online advertising. The campaign will run until the end of February 2015.

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