CAMPAIGNS: CHARITY; CRC stamping out sun damage

Client: Cancer Research Campaign PR team: In-house Campaign: Cover Up Campaign and Own Brand Sun Protection Lotion Timing: February 1996 - ongoing Cost: In-house PR time

Client: Cancer Research Campaign

PR team: In-house

Campaign: Cover Up Campaign and Own Brand Sun Protection Lotion

Timing: February 1996 - ongoing

Cost: In-house PR time

Every year around 2,000 people die from skin cancer in the UK but the

vast majority of these deaths are preventable. Malignant melanoma, the

most serious form of skin cancer, is the fastest growing cancer in


Drawing on the Australian experiences of the Anti Cancer Council of

Victoria, the Cancer Research Campaign launched its own brand of high-

protection sun lotion together with a skin cancer awareness programme

called Cover Up. CRC also serves on the working group set up in 1994,

to respond to the Government’s Health of the Nation targets on reducing

skin cancer cases.


To increase public awareness of the harmful effects of exposure of skin

to the sun, shifting the perception of a tan from that healthy glow to

sun damaged skin, while also promoting sales of CRC’s new protection



In effect Cover Up was promoted with two media launches. The initial

press launch of the product was held at the Royal College of Physicians

on 12 February. The launch was fronted by the scientific director (and

subsequent director general) of CRC Professor Gordon McVie; the

chairman of the National Radiological Protection Board Sir Keith Peters;

Dr Jane Melia of the Institute of Cancer Research; and Gavin Walker,

Boots’ buying and marketing controller, beauty and personal care. The

group examined medical links between trends in sun bathing and increased

skin cancers.

A video message was also provided by Paul Davey of the Anti Cancer

Council of Victoria, Australia.

Later in March, the tabloid and consumer press turned out in droves to

see Samantha Fox welcome the first delivery of CRC sun lotion into a

London Sainsbury’s. The former page three girl’s willingness to pose in

a trolley full of CRC bottles, wearing a CRC blue lycra suit, meant that

even the Daily Star gave coverage to skin cancer prevention.

As the Cover Up campaign continues, CRC plans to focus on different

protection messages together with stockists. CRC will work on individual

promotions with six stores including Sainsbury’s and Boots, including a

MORI family survey to be carried out in conjunction with a retailer.


The launch was covered by ITN mid-day news, Independent Radio News, the

Big Breakfast news, Radio 5 Live breakfast programme, Viva Radio, London

News Talk, BBC 2’s Working Lunch and around 12 local BBC stations and

extensive commercial radio. There was also coverage in the Daily

Express, the Daily Telegraph, the Independent, the Times, the Daily

Star, the Evening Standard and 30 regionals. The Samantha Fox photocall

was picked up by the Evening Standard and the Sun as well as the Daily

Star and more than 20 local papers.

Osborne says that the sun lotion is selling like hot cakes and that

stores are doubling their orders.


A topical campaign with something for everyone. The campaign gained

momentum from the Health Education Authorities ongoing Sun Know How skin

cancer campaign and the publication of a report on the use of sun

screens. CRC is not only flagging up the problem but also going some way

towards providing a solution.

The broadsheet press and news media were able to draw on CRC’s

presentation of startling research from Australia on an escalating

disease in the UK, while the popular press were tempted by the Samantha

Fox link. Cover Up enables high street chains to add customer care and

health education to a high volume seasonal product.

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