In August 2007, a young Melbourne woman brought the issue of solariums to the attention of many Australians. Battling end-stage melanoma, Clare Oliver had only weeks to live, yet she decided to use her remaining time and energy to make certain other people understood the dangers of solarium use.
In the final weeks of her life, Clare's story received significant public and media attention, and, more importantly, she achieved major change. In Victoria, the State Health Minister Daniel Andrews announced that the solarium industry would be regulated and other states have since followed suit.
Given the overwhelming public response to Clare's story, Cancer Council Australia and SunSmart, together with support from the Clare Oliver Foundation, decided to make a television commercial featuring footage from Clare's only two television interviews on the ABC's 7:30 Report and 60 Minutes .
Clare's family gave permission for the advertisement to be made, and Clare's oncologist, Associate Professor Grant McArthur from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, was also involved in the development of the advertisement.
Media attention about Clare's story was strongly focused on her use of solariums. However, Clare also talked about her sun exposure and desire for a tan. Cancer Council felt that focusing this new television advertisement on tanning would have an impact on young people more broadly and therefore have a greater public health impact.
The advertisement's main message is ‘no tan is worth dying for'. In Clare's own words, ‘choose life, choose to be fair'.
The ABC and Nine Network provided the footage at no cost, and Richard Lowenstein (renowned for his direction of music videos for bands, such as INXS, Hunters and Collectors, and Crowded House, and director of cult Australian films, such as Dogs in space and He died with a felafel in his hand ) edited the advertisement.
The advertisement was launched in February 2008 and distributed to television networks nationally as a Community Service Announcement.