Highlighting the power of creativity to affect meaningful change, this campaign for Melanoma Awareness Month takes an innovative approach to stopping skin cancer.

There’s a widespread myth that black and brown skin tones cannot develop skin cancer. Now London creative agency T&Pm has found an innovative way to overcome this confusion in their campaign for Melanoma Awareness Month.

They’ve created a patient support and advocacy group, Melanoma UK, that draws on the widespread popularity of nail stickers.

Conceived by Hungarian-Pakistani duo Armna Khan and Eszter Boldov, ‘Beauty Spotters’ aims to raise awareness of the signs of Acral Melanoma, the most common form of skin cancer, in people with black and brown skin.

There is a widespread lack of awareness of the signs and symptoms of this condition, as well as a misconception that people of colour cannot get skin cancer, which Melanoma UK are aiming to myth bust.

Campaign aim

Acral Melanoma is unique in that it isn’t related to sun exposure, it is difficult to diagnose, and it is often misdiagnosed. The first signs often appear under the nails, so T&Pm has created the Beauty Spotters Toolkit: a nail sticker kit that showcases the watch-out signs of Acral Melanoma, with a handy information pack.

“Raising awareness of acral melanoma through the visual medium of nail stickers means people can become familiar with the signs,” says Dr Sharon Belmo, a consultant dermatologist involved with the campaign. “Medical conditions can present differently in darker skin types and due to the focus on white skin in western dermatology, conditions which affect people with skin of colour can often be underrepresented or overlooked.”

The nail stickers put vital information quite literally into the hands of nail technicians, beauty professionals, influencers, and others who see nails, hands, and feet on a regular basis. The aim is to turn them into “Beauty Spotters” who can identify potential signs of melanoma and urge clients to seek medical attention.

Making a difference

“Early detection of acral melanoma is the most important determining factor in successful treatment,” explains NHS GP Dr Nishali Patel. “This campaign calls on all professionals who look at hands and feet for a living to play a role in making a difference.”

Mark Rawden, CEO of Melanoma UK, adds that the campaign expands the charity’s efforts beyond traditional sun-related skin cancer awareness.

“Our focus has been sharpened around not just raising awareness, but campaigning for behaviour change to increase the likelihood of melanoma being spotted amongst all people,” he says.

The use of nail stickers makes the messaging hard to ignore. As T&Pm’s executive creative director Toby Allen says: “This campaign shows the power of creativity to affect meaningful change, using the humblest and most accessible of beauty accessories to land its message in a way you can’t ignore. In doing so we aim to turn every mani into a life-saving movement.”

The campaign was activated through T&Pm’s sister agency, Halpern PR, and took place throughout May with a launch feature in Cosmopolitan. Here’s hoping it helps transform routine services into potential cancer detection opportunities and save lives.