Children stage global intervention to protect Danish kids from getting sunburned

The school summer holidays are around the corner for most families. Good news, except for the fact that in Denmark a terrifying four out of ten children get sunburned while they’re on holiday abroad. To raise awareness, and to change behaviour in the sun, The Danish Cancer Society, the Danish philanthropic foundation TrygFonden and creative agency &Co have launched a new campaign to ‘Help a Small Dane.’

Denmark has one of the highest rates of melanoma in the world, and almost one Dane dies from melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer every day. A key factor is that Danes love a holiday in the sun but forget sufficient sun protection when travelling abroad. On a sunny holiday abroad, many Danes get as much UV radiation in a week as they do in almost half a year in Denmark. 

After 10 years of sun safety campaigns, The Danish Cancer Society and TrygFonden needed a new strategy to make Danes change their habits. In 2017, together with creative agency &Co, they launched an award-winning ‘Help a Dane’ campaign, which succeeded in changing behaviour; after seeing the campaign, 63 % of Danes indicated, that it made them remember sun protection. 

However, last year a total of 40 % of all Danish children still managed to get sunburned.

‘Help a Small Dane’ is a tongue-in-cheek campaign which shifts its focus to tackling sun safety for kids. Using humour, the campaign sees children from around the world take action. 

Set in Mallorca, the film features Ramon, a local kid who states: “Every year me and my gang find hundreds of you small red Danes. Red and boring!” He urges small Danes to protect themselves because he wants to play with them and have fun.

“Using humour to tackle an urgent situation was a conscious strategy. Most people generally don’t like being told what to do but Danes possess an admirable ability to laugh at themselves. The humorous nature of the campaign allows us hold up a mirror to the Danes and show them how ridiculous it is to neglect sun protection. It’s an urgent reminder that invites them to play along and poke fun at themselves. And, crucially, no Danes got sunburned in the making of this spot…”, Ole Hoffmann says.

The initiative leverages 12.000 ‘Help a Dane ambassadors’ generated worldwide from the previous campaign, whom we encouraged to submit advice on how to help small Danes as part of this campaign. In addition, over the next few weeks, families leaving Copenhagen Airport will be sent off with a goodie bag to help Small Danes to stay sun safe.

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