In the dead of winter, you might feel tempted to give your skin a little color. Before you do, know that every year 10,000 Americans die from melanoma, and a major cause is indoor tanning. It turns out that one session under the UV lights raises your melanoma risk by 20%. Over time, your risk for developing skin cancer increases by as much as 74%. To highlight the dangers of indoor tanning, Mollie’s Fund, a melanoma education and prevention organization, took an extreme approach: they invited unsuspecting would-be tanners to their own funerals.
Working with agency Area 23, the organization set up a fake tanning salon and invited customers inside for a free tan. But instead of walking into the tanning room, subjects stepped into a faux funeral, complete with mourners in the pews, a piano player, coffin, and screen displaying their photograph. Afterwards, a camera crew interviewed the “deceased” about the experience. People were understandably horrified. “It’s my first time tanning,” says one young woman. “And after this, never again.” That response is exactly what Mollie’s Fund was hoping for; the organization was founded in memory of a young woman who died from melanoma at the age of 20.
“Free Killer Tan” is similar to the “Go For Zero” PSA, in which Belgian agency 20 Something invited reckless drivers to their own funerals. In that case, subjects walked into a fake service populated by their family and close friends. The result was an outpouring of extreme emotion. The Mollie’s Fund spot is far less intense, though hopefully creepy enough to keep you slathered in sunblock and out of the tanning booth.