Sun Safety on Site

  • Mick McCabe

Health and sun safety. " The world's first UV reactive poster. " When HHS Hire and Cancer Research UK, asked us to help them raise awareness of the dangers of skin cancer within the construction industry, we jumped at the opportunity, then got straight to work looking at the facts. “Whoa, that’s shocking” was our initial reaction when we read the brief which was uncomfortably crammed with horrifying stats about high levels of skin cancer deaths among construction workers. When stark facts knock you sideways your work better produce the same reaction. So that’s what we set out to do. We’ve all seen the big bold building sites safety posters urging you to wear hard hats, safety glasses and protective boots. So we decided to explore using these iconic “Danger” messages emblazoned with scary facts about sun safety on site. Good start but not nearly as edgy as we wanted to be. Not limiting your thinking around what you technically can and can’t really do is part of the creative process. So we thought wouldn’t it be amazing if part of the poster turned red and angry when the sun is out as a reminder of what happens to your skin. We had a few executions but the one that really gave us the stopping power we were looking for was the skull that appeared on a featureless face. It was now shocking, meaningful and clever, harnessing the sun as a medium to deliver its macabre message. After a chat to our production director, we discovered there was such a thing as photochromic ink which was used in the textile, glass and ceramic industry which would become intensely coloured after 15 seconds in direct sunlight. But no one had used it on a poster before, so what we were proposing was a first. The special build posters were produced in China and have been put up around 1,000,000 sq ft Bloombery development on Queen Victoria Street in London which currently employs 1,200 Trade Contractor employees managed by Sir Robert McAlpine. And we’ve since heard the campaign could be rolled out to HSS Onsite facilities nationwide. It’s early days to measure the positive impact of the campaign but if the feedback from the client and Cancer Research UK is anything to go by it will be a great success. It picked up a Bronze Creative Circle Award, IPA Best of Health, 4 Golds in The Roses Awards a Gold in the prestigious PM Society Awards, and a Creative Floor Award.