Tanning cream boasts it “triples the power of the sun”

Although it hasn't developed a huge following in the United States, Sunny 3, a revolutionary tanning cream that "triples the power of the sun on your skin," has taken Sweden, and most recently the UK, by storm. Due to Sunny 3's unbelievable results, consumers in Sweden have started throwing night tanning parties in order to obtain their unnatural glow--a trend dominated by the nation's youth. Thanks to multiple "night tanning" videos on YouTube and the international grapevine, it wasn't long before residents in the UK flocked to the Sunny 3 website to order their very own "miracle" product. The only problem is, once your eager--and presumably pale-- finger clicks "Send!" the screen goes blank. And after the processing order pinwheel fades, the screen is flashed with text that reveals, "There is no such thing as Sunny 3." That's right, the product is a fake. And the motive behind the elaborate scheme is revealed as you continue watching your hijacked screen. After the initial message fades another takes its place: "And there is no such thing as a safe suntan." Fade. "Sunburn leads to skin cancer." This message is then joined by seven graphic images of skin cancer that concludes with the tagline: "7 people die from it every day. To avoid being one of them, please visit www.skcin.org." The Karen Clifford Skin Cancer Charity (Skcin), one of the masterminds behind the detailed hoax, is the UK's only skin cancer-specific charity, according to its website. Teaming up with McCann Erickson, an international advertising powerhouse, the organization crafted a thorough plot in order to reach the at-risk youth market. From posting dozens of videos on YouTube, most notably a false news report (see below) on the dangers associated with the new evening craze, to setting up fake accounts on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook and creating an intricate website full of smiling, sun-kissed clientele, Skcin did everything it could to lure in its target audience. And although the website was just launched a few weeks ago, more than 14,000 unsuspecting customers have already tried to order the fictitious product.So after all is spammed and done, Skcin is left hoping that their effort will be effective. What do you think? Would this campaign have worked on you? Would you have fallen for it? Taylor Walker, a graduate of the magazine journalism program at the University of Missouri-Columbia, is a summer editorial intern with CURE.