Cancer Research UK has taken the controversial step of linking up with Beiersdorf UK, to endorse its Nivea suncare products.
The move is likely to attract criticism from campaigners who warn that sunscreens may actually increase the risk of skin cancer by encouraging people to spend more time in the sun than is healthy.
Observers say that the Nivea/Cancer Research tie-up is similar to the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and Tetley tea partnership, which allowed the tea company to use the charity’s logo with a caption saying that tea contains high levels of antioxidants which are good for the heart. The ads were censured by the Advertising Standards Authority and the Independent Television Commission.
This is the first time that a UK cancer charity has linked up with a cosmetics manufacturer to promote awareness about skin cancer caused by exposure to the sun and UV.
Cancer Research UK will lend its logo to endorse the Nivea suncare products. The charity’s logo will appear on press and television advertising for all Nivea suncare ranges.
A spokesman for Wessex Cancer Trust says: “For any such cause-related marketing, our organisation would have made sure that medical benefits were obvious and that there was no risk of disrepute before we allowed our name to be associated with any product. I do not, however, know what the benefits of Nivea are.”
Another charity spokeswoman adds that the Nivea/Cancer Research UK partnership could dilute serious messages about skin cancer and sunburn.
A spokeswoman for the charity says: “Nivea has historically conveyed the “safe sun” message and what we are doing is linking up to spread the message. We are using our logo alongside the Nivea products to communicate the message about seeking shade in the sun and using products with sun-protection factor (SPF) of 15 and above.”
Organisations such as the Skin Care Campaign have however welcomed the tie-up.