Is there really nothing healthy about a tan?

The Cancer Council of WA (and other Cancer Councils in other States too) are investing a lot of money to convince people like you and me that “there’s nothing healthy about a tan”.  I’ve seen airplanes dragging signage across the sky near the beach, bus side posters and TV commercials.  It’s a big effort to change behaviour.

But is it possible?  Could you really have your perception changed by this advertising message?  I suspect not.

We are hardwired to think a tan looks healthy. See the current BUPA TVCs below, where the tanned version of the person is the healthy example.

A tan is usually derived from outdoor pursuits  under the sun.  Our brain sees a glowing person and draws the conclusion, “they’re healthy”.  Telling us to stop thinking that way is likely to be futile.

For mine, a more believable proposition that might gain better traction would be “sun exposure isn’t healthy” (with a Creative and Copywriting team to fix it up!) and an acknowledgement that fake tanning lotions are a better solution.

It reminds me of the saying, “losing the battle but winning the war”.  Giving up on convincing people that pale = healthy means the Cancer Council might have a chance of  winning the war against melanoma.


Further to this blog entry, I received a great response from the Cancer Council

I encourage you to read their research:

Now what do you think?

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