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Pretty Shady

Pretty Shady

About this initiative

Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world with approximately two in three diagnosed by the time they are 70, caused largely by over exposure and damage by the ultraviolet (UV) light. With the perception that being “tanned” is a sign of wellbeing, Australians, especially millennials, remain at risk despite years of messaging. So how do we get young Australians to protect themselves from the sun?

The UN’s SDG 3 Good health and well-being is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages – with a focus on premature deaths (before 70 years of age) owning to the non-communicable disease that is cancer. According to Cancer Council Australia, there are more than 750,000 people treated for skin cancer in Australia each year, accounting for around 80% of all newly diagnosed cancers. Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.


Dentsu Aegis Network agency Soap Creative teamed up with Cancer Institute NSW to raise awareness, change attitudes and deliver behaviour change for a particular vulnerable and easily influential group: young Australians. Despite having been exposed to warnings around the dangers around sun exposure, this group links being tanned to wellbeing and it’s an important part of their personal expression.

That’s why, in response to this brief, Soap created Pretty Shady: a lifestyle brand that each summer makes good-looking products to protect you from the sun – shade, clothing, hats, sunglasses and sunscreen. These products were launched and designed with collaborators from the worlds of fashion, music, sport and art and were given away for free at From skateboarder Corbin Harris to fashion blogger Nicole Warne, this three-year integrated strategy was launched from 2014 onwards and reached its final conclusions this year (2017).

Pretty Shady has become ubiquitous in pop culture, appearing all over social media platforms, and even becoming a part of the summer zeitgeist. The viral reach of Pretty Shady reached 8 million Australians (34% of the population). Furthermore, Pretty Shady delivered and changes in actual behaviour: among those who experienced the campaign, 47% said they would increase their level of sun protection whilst curbing the view of those with ‘pro-tanning attitudes’ – with 80% who experienced the campaign and thought tans were fashionable would opt in and use Pretty Shady products. Finally, campaign brand awareness has steadily grown over the three-year period, with unprompted brand recall growing to 5%.