Havas Lynx reflect horror of skin cancer in innovative light reactive poster campaign

Havas Lynx reflect horror of skin cancer in innovative light reactive poster campaign


Award winning Manchester based healthcare creative agency, Havas Lynx, has designed a hard-hitting and highly innovative skin cancer awareness poster campaign which utilises specialist light reactive ink technology. The campaign was devised for HSS Hire, the national tool and equipment hire company, supported by Cancer Research UK. 

The campaign was undertaken on a pro-bono basis by Havas Lynx, to help support Cancer Research UK and underpins the agency’s commitment to harnessing creativity to deliver positive, high impact healthcare outcomes.

Designed to raise awareness of the risks of skin cancer to construction workers who are exposed to high levels of UVA rays, and to encourage them to take advantage of free sunscreen on site, Havas Lynx’s creative team produced a stark graphic of an apparently featureless, colourless face in a hard hat – but which, when exposed to ultraviolet light, dramatically morphs into grim “life” as a skull in a shock of vibrant colour.

The specialist photochromic inks which produce the effect are traditionally used in the textile, glass and ceramics industries, becoming intensely coloured after only 15 seconds in direct sunlight and returning to clear when taken indoors or as daylight diminishes. Havas Lynx’s campaign for HSS Hire is the first of its kind to harness the technology in a poster format.

The powerful posters have been put up around the 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. If successful, the campaign could be rolled out to HSS Onsite facilities nationwide.

Commenting on the arresting new design technique employed for the poster campaign, Havas Lynx’s Chief Creative Officer, Tom Richards, said:

“Sixty construction workers die each year from skin cancers, with 80% of those located on the head and neck.  A shocking 55% of skin cancer patients are construction workers: these are frightening statistics*.  It was clear to us from the outset that we needed the message to be hard hitting, stark and totally uncompromising.

“It’s fitting that the poster uses the sun as a medium to deliver its powerful message, ensuring the warning against unprotected UVA exposure comes to life when workers are most at risk. The visual impact is very macabre – precisely the effect we wanted.”

Gareth Lucy, Head of Brand and PR for HSS Hire, said: “Whether it’s our customers or our colleagues, safety is our number one priority which is why we’re working with Sir Robert McAlpine in raising awareness around being sun safe on site.

“We’re incredibly impressed by Havas Lynx’s innovative approach to the brief, which has delivered a campaign like no other before it in our industry. We wanted something completely different that would have immediate impact – and this clever use of technology and powerful imagery has gone way beyond that.

We came to Havas Lynx because of its unique expertise in the healthcare sector, and this poster campaign demonstrates both its understanding of the communications challenge, as well as its flair for bold creativity.”

To view the poster undergo its eerie interaction with sunlight, click here.


* Source Health & Safety Executive 2012. The Burden of Occupational Cancer in Great Britain.