Area 23 Fights Deadly Effects of Tanning Beds

Tanning salons are popular, but many users don’t realize their potentially lethal effects from melanoma, one of the most deadly forms of skin cancer. To help educate and avoid the tragic loss of life caused by tanning bed usage, the melanoma awareness organization Mollie’s Fund and Area 23, an FCB Health company, have launched the “Free Killer Tan” campaign.

The initiative was simple: Area 23 set up a fake tanning salon in midtown Manhattan and invited patrons in for a free tan. However, once people arrived, they were confronted with a dramatization of the deadly effects of tanning. A public service announcement video documenting the creation of the fake tanning salon event shows the emotional confrontations with unsuspecting tanners. It can be viewed on the campaign’s microsite.

Microsite visitors are encouraged to invite friends, family and colleagues to experience the microsite and PSA under the guise of a “Free Killer Tan” e-certificate, tapping into the power of constructive peer pressure to force tanners to think twice before using a tanning bed.

Tim Hawkey, Managing Director of Area 23, said the campaign needed to go above and beyond the traditional ways of educating the public about the dangers of tanning. “We had to get under people’s skin to really change their behavior and make sure they never use a tanning bed again,” said Hawkey. “If visitors take away anything from this campaign it is that tanning beds kill and they’re not worth the risk.”

This project was made possible by a grant from The Miracle Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of those diagnosed with cancer and to finding a cure for this disease.

"If visitors take away anything from this campaign it is that tanning beds kill and they’re not worth the risk."

—Tim Hawkey, Managing Director, Area 23

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