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  • Get a tan from your computer?

    Launched on February 3, 2009 and originally planned to run for seven days, the site Computertan.com received more than 30,000 hits in the first 24 hours and over 1 million hits in the first two months.

    The premise of the hoax is that software downloaded from the website recalibrates the user's computer monitor or mobile phone to produce UV rays, after promising to give the user a skin analysis.

    Described as a "revolutionary new online tanning service" which promises an all-year tan,

    upon activating the "five minute free tan trial", bars from a sunbed flash on the screen followed by the message "Don't be fooled, UV exposure can kill", and then by images depicting the victims of sun damage.

    Our campaign was developed to talk to young people about the dangers of skin cancer, what causes it and how it can be prevented. We chose to target this audience by convincing them of a new technology that would enable tanning from their own computer screens. An infomercial was created offering free online tanning sessions, which was seeded across the web and key bloggers, together with an extensive PR campaign. 25,000 flyers offering free tanning sessions were distributed and the film was displayed on 50 digital cross track panels in 10 London Underground stations and on 1000 London black taxi screens. Online banners were positioned on 250 key websites receiving over 17million page impressions. In a second wave of activity, an iPhone application was launched and sent out to our email database with supporting online advertising.

    The site attracted over 402,000 visitors from 190 countries, registering over 1.5million page views, with an average dwell time of 2 minutes 15 seconds. Since launch 262 blog posts have been logged. 7million people were exposed to CBS digital cross tracks, 700,000 more through London Cab vision and we achieved over 17million page impressions from online banners. Our PR campaign delivered national coverage in The Sun, The Independent, The Daily Express, The Guardian, on BBC News and on BBC Radio One. International coverage included 66 specialist stories varying from The New Zealand Herald, Fox US and Yahoo News. We secured coverage across 8,100 websites.

    “SKCin’s objectives; to significantly increase public awareness and education of skin cancer risks, increase early diagnosis, thereby saving lives. There is no doubt that McCann has made a huge and otherwise unobtainable impact in this regard and for that we are eternally grateful.” Richard Clifford, SKCin.