Here's the Oddest, Most Amusing Ad for Sun Protection You'll See Today

That kid's as red as a radish!

It's summer, and Danish kids vacationing in Spain are turning red because their tender Scandinavian skin tends to sizzle in the sun. This makes them boring and no fun for the local youngsters to play with. 

That's the premise of a strange and cheeky new skin-cancer awareness video that features a very sunburned boy from Denmark who really wishes his family hadn't taken him on an eight-hour banana-boat ride in Mallorca. 

In the clip, we meet young "Viggo Mortensen" (yes, he shares the name of a Hollywood actor) on the beach, where he stands by sullenly as a Spanish boy named Ramon and other kids urge viewers to "Help a Small Dane" avoid risky outdoor behavior that can cause melanoma and other cancers:

Indeed, using sunscreen and hats, while taking time-outs in the shade, might have saved Viggo considerable discomfort and protected him from dangerous UV rays. (Danes absorb as much UV radiation in a week in Mallorca as they do during six months in Denmark, we're told.) 

As for his suggestion that ice cream would also make things better, well, that's an entirely different summer-themed campaign.

The work from Copenhagen creative shop &Co for the Danish Cancer Society and nonprofit TrygFonden updates the team's Gold Clio-winning "Help a Dane" effort that targeted adult travelers with similar messages and, most recently, used manic music videos to make its point. 

Now, the focus shifts to kids, because, according to the DCS, four in 10 Danish children get sunburned on holiday, increasing their chances of developing skin cancer later in life. (And Denmark has some of the highest melanoma rates in the world.) 

"Stylistically, we wanted to create a film that looked like it could have been made by these characters," says Peter Harton, who directed the 2:45 spot, which is running exclusively on Facebook and YouTube. "Staying true to the material throughout the editing was quite challenging, because you usually cut away all the pauses in commercials. We initially tried this, but it lost a lot of its charm, so we actually ended up making it even slower than it had been originally."

The leisurely pace is distracting in a good way, and helps Harton create an amusing kids' universe where young people's concerns and insights illuminate a serious problem. 

"The target is Danish parents," he says. "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."

CREDITS

Client: Danish Cancer Society & TrygFonden
Executive Project Manager, Danish Cancer Society: Peter Dalum
Campaign manager, Danish Cancer Society: Dorte Dahl
Campaign manager, Danish Cancer Society: Thomas Koefoed
Head of press, TrygFonden: Karen Bøgedal

Agency: &Co / NoA
Creative Director: Robert Cerkez
Art Directors: Ole Hoffmann & Kristoffer Winther
Copywriter: Kristian Eilertsen
Account Director: Morten Fabricius
Account Manager: Anders Antvorskov
SoMe Planner: Nynne Sille Hansen
Final artist: Morten Grundsøe

Production Company: &Co. Productions / NoA
Director: Peter Harton
Executive Producer: Anders Darre
Producer: Filippa Borg von Bülow

Line-Producer: Maria-Louise Ottesen
Editor: Anders Jon
Director of Photography: Ulrik Boel Bentzen
Set design and wardrobe: Jane Marshal Whittaker
Gaffer: Martin Lerche
Sound recordist & Sound Design: Kevin Koch
Make-Up: Louise Bruun
Casting Mallorca: Virginia Beauget
Casting DK: Casteriet ved Anders
Grading: Bacon X / Hannibal
Music: Asger Baden & Peder
Service Company: Orange Valley

Service Producer: Vincente Jensen
1st AD: Dani Torrejon

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.