Every year, Danish tourists migrate south seeking the sun on vacations, and every year they lay on the beach or sit on a terrace drinking beer without any sunscreen. This, obviously, increases their risk of skin cancer; in response, the Danish Cancer Society is running ad campaigns in other countries, asking local residents to “Help a Dane” and remind their pallid visitors to come armed with sunscreen, hats, and shades.
Like residents of most northern countries, the Danes go crazy when they see a hint of sun, stripping down and trying to get the maximum tan during their short vacations. Around 90% of melanomas and skin cancers are directly attributable to UV radiation from the sun; with nearly 8,000 people diagnosed with skin cancer each year, Denmark is the European country with the highest incidence of the disease. So the Danish Cancer Society, in association with TrygFonden–a foundation which “works to make Denmark a safer place to be”–came up with this radical, slightly surreal PSA campaign to combat it.
The campaign consists of a series of videos to be shown in five favorite holiday destinations for Danes: Italy, France, Spain, Greece, and Thailand. They ask the local viewers to Help a Dane by reminding them to go into shade as often as possible, to wear a sun hat, and to offer them sunscreen. Here’s the video for Spain:
The rest of the videos are pretty much the same, only with different national foods being burned to a crisp: Kofta in Greece, pizza in Italy, spring rolls in Thailand, and a croissant in France. As a concept, the campaign is genius. And if it takes off and enters the national consciousness of even one of the destination countries, it could really save lives in the long term (and maybe even get locals actually talking to tourists).
Education, of course, would be the ideal way to counter the problem, but people tend to forget themselves when they go on vacation. Enlisting the help of locals who are fully trained in protecting themselves and steering clear of the sun is smart. Locals also enjoy a laugh at the expense of tourists who turn themselves into glowing, red-and-white-striped cinders; hopefully they’ll crack up, then extend a tube of sunscreen. The Danish Cancer Society campaign manages to capture all of these dynamics–let’s hope that it can be as effective as it is amusing.