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Aussies Still Traumatised by 2000’s Cancer Council Ad

March 15, 2024 10:12 am in by
Image: Cancer Council Australia

Australians are reminiscing about a ‘haunting’ TV commercial from the late 2000s that left them “scarred for life.”

Cancer Council launched its The Dark Side of Tanning campaign in the late noughties, using the slogan that’s now engrained in a lot of our brains, There’s nothing healthy about a tan” alongside “terrifying” graphics illustrating how melanoma spreads.

Melody Chew, Cancer Council Australia Director of Cancer Control Campaigns and Communications, shared with FEMAIL that the campaign had a significant impact on young Australians, yet there’s still progress needed as many prioritise vanity over skin health.

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“It clearly made a difference,” said Dermal clinician Madeleine in a TikTok clip caption.

The ad depicts a woman on the beach without sunscreen, followed by a CGI visualisation of melanoma cells spreading.

@mads.skin @CCA absolutely popped off with this campaign! It haunts me. Maybe a little too terrifying for 10 year old me to see but hey, look at me now preaching sun safety. It clearly worked! #slipslopslap #australia #sunsafety #sunscreen #melanoma #tanning #greenscreenvideo ♬ original sound – mads.skin | Dermal Clinician

“Tanning is skin cells in trauma trying to protect themselves from cancer, but one damaged cell can lead to melanoma growth. Just one millimetre deep, it can enter your bloodstream and spread,” warns the narrator.

Madeleine mentioned that the campaign “haunts” all Australians born before the 2000s, calling it her “Roman empire”, indicating it’s still on her mind regularly.

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“There’s nothing healthy about a tan has been etched in my mind for YEARS now,” agreed one woman.

“Yep, my friends and I still remind each other that tanning is skin cells in trauma!” whenever someone forgets to properly Slip Slop Slap,” another shared.

Cancer Council’s five steps to protect your skin from sun damage 

  1. Wear protective clothing that covers as much skin as possible.
  2. Wear a hat, not a cap, that’s broad brimmed so the ears and neck are protected.
  3. Apply sunscreen – and make sure it’s SPF30 or higher, broad spectrum and water resistant. Sunscreen needs to be applied before heading outdoors and reapplied every two hours or after swimming, sweating or towel drying.
  4. Seek shade if you are outdoors and be clever in timing your activities so if possible, you don’t get caught out during high UV periods.
  5. Wear sunglasses to protect the skin around the eyes and your eyes too.

Source: Cancer Council

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