The Skin Cancer Foundation launched a nationwide, multiyear public service campaign, The Big See, this June aimed at empowering individuals to take a proactive approach towards skin cancer detection. The pro bono campaign leverages the seriousness of cancer and highlights the unique characteristic of the disease—that we can actually see it.
Using the phrase “What’s That?” as its tagline, the campaign reminds people to look for anything that is new, changing, or unusual through a TV commercial, social media, print advertisements, and guerrilla initiative.
“We decided that the best way to save more lives is to simplify the conversation around the warning signs of skin cancer,” says Deborah S. Sarnoff, M.D. and president of The Skin Cancer Foundation. “Everyone can understand the concept of looking for something that’s new, changing or unusual. The Big See campaign aims to inspire you to open your eyes, get to know your skin, look in the mirror and keep these three words in mind—new, changing, unusual—they could save your life.”
The commercial, filmed on a San Diego boardwalk, captures passersby engaging with a high-tech mirror featuring text and voice messages that connect with each person, encouraging them to check for signs of skin cancer and visit a dermatologist for their skin exam.
People will also encounter The Big See through their mirror takeover in various locations nationwide. As mirrors are the perfect tool to help identify skin cancer, the campaign created branded mirror clings to place in businesses and public spaces with the goal of bringing awareness about the importance of identifying and acting on any concerns.
The campaign was conceptualized and executed by Digitas Health, an agency within the Publicis network, which has been working with the foundation since 2017. Susan Manber, chief planning officer for Digitas Health, championed the campaign, as she is a survivor of Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare and aggressive form of skin cancer. “I will forever be grateful to my daughter, Sarina, for asking me, ‘Mom, what’s that thing on your nose?’ Had I ignored her, even for a few weeks, I wouldn’t be here today,” says Manber. “That’s why my personal mission is to do everything in my power to help people prevent and detect skin cancer and, ultimately, to end death from the disease. It was incredibly meaningful for me to partner with the Foundation on a public service campaign that drives early detection.”
According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans develop skin cancer. More than two people die every hour from the disease. If caught early, it is highly curable. If not, it can cause disfigurement and even death. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that adults see a dermatologist at least once a year for a skin exam and perform monthly self-exams at home.