I’m at Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro where I’m meeting Roberto Fernandez, the executive creative director for Ogilvy & Mather Brazil.

“There’s a reason I asked you to meet me here,” says Roberto as we sit down on a shady terrace to order fresh juice.

“You see all these people? Everyone is tanned and everyone is working on getting even more tanned. That’s not a problem in itself, it’s part of the Brazilian beach culture. The problem is that Brazilians are not tanning in a safe way: we don’t use sunscreen in the right way, we expose ourselves to the sun at the wrong time of day and we don’t go for regular dermatologist checks. As a result there are 140,000 new cases of skin cancer every year.”

“So what did you come up with?”

Around the World in 80 Brands  - Sol de Janeiro
Around the World in 80 Brands – Sol de Janeiro

“Well, look at the people around you again… everyone has tattoos… This too is part of Brazilian beach culture – one in eight people in Brazil have a tattoo. So we, together with Sol de Janeiro, Brazil’s youth sunscreen brand decided to team up with tattoo artists, the people who work with skin every day.”

“In partnership with A.C. Camargo, a prominent cancer research institute, we created a training programme to teach the tattoo artists how to identify skin problems. The programme was launched in Rio and São Paulo, but due to high demand we soon extended it to cover the whole country with an online course. Tattoo artists and their studios receive a diploma after completing the course and that way people know that when they go to that studio they will also receive a skin check.”

“Wow, that’s pretty cool. So Sol de Janeiro has in a sense defined its purpose – preventing sunburn and indirectly skin cancer. And we added diagnosing skin cancer at an early stage, which has in turn connected it more strongly to its target audience.”

“Exactly. The message is that Sol de Janeiro is the sunscreen brand that embraces the Brazilian beach culture and looks after the skin of Brazilian youth. The brand’s slogan is ‘sua pele, nossa praia’, a very Brazilian way of saying ‘we really look after your skin’.

“So what has been the impact so far?”

“So far over 200 tattoo artists have certified in Rio and São Paulo, and now with the online course we are targeting another 250 tattoo artists nationwide. The campaign has also received a lot of media coverage.

“But the most impressive thing is that 18,900 people a week are getting a tattoo and skin cancer checks, since each of the 450 participating artists has an average of six clients a day. And many people have had an early skin cancer diagnosis already. 

“And, last but not least, we won two silver Lions and two bronze Lions at this year’s Cannes Lions Festival so our purpose has been picked up by the creative industry.”


CoolBbrands People - Roberto Fernandez
CoolBrands People – Roberto Fernandez


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