Everyone has been told by a parent or a camp counselor to remember to put on sunscreen.
Now Melanoma Canada, an organization dedicated to helping people with skin cancer and educating the public about the disease, has launched a campaign that features “burn guards,” who encourage beachgoers to apply sunscreen.
“As an activation, the image of a bright red lifeguard tower placed in the water looking over the beach…is one that’s hard to ignore,” said Athina Lalljee, creative director at McCann Canada, which proposed the campaign to Melanoma Canada. “It grabs attention and generates conversation, serving as a reminder to stay safe in the sun.”
Each year around the world, there are between 2 and 3 million diagnoses of non-melanoma skin cancers and 132,000 cases of melanoma skin cancers, the deadliest form of the cancer, according to the World Health Organization.
In Canada, 9,000 people were diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer in 2022, a 3.4% increase from the previous year, according to Melanoma Canada.
The organization deployed its first “guards” in July at Port Dover Beach along Lake Erie in Ontario. Dermatologists trained the workers to identify what could be problematic or cancerous moles and educated them on the minimum sun-protection factor that people should use — the organization says 50 — as well as what hours have the highest ultraviolet levels (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.), among other information.
At the beach, the guards distributed sunscreen and directed people to a “mole mobile” where a doctor checked their skin.
The organization also held a raffle in which entrants could win a Nissan car, a Club Med vacation, a year’s supply of Neutrogena products and shopping sprees with the outerwear company Columbia.
The group produced videos that play on the classic show Baywatch to educate people about the risk of skin cancer and Burn Guards.
“We didn’t want to go full into that reference because it distracts from the actual purpose of the idea,” said Josh Stein, chief creative officer at McCann Canada. “We want people to actually protect themselves. It’s still entertaining, but we didn’t want it to become just a commercial or a parody.”
This article originally appeared on PRWeek US.