Behind the Idea: Making the sun shine for Nivea

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YouGov research shows that as much as a third of people don’t apply sun cream in the UK. Despite spending time in gardens and parks, as soon as the sun comes out, they tend not to take the same care as they do abroad.

A recent campaign through FCB Inferno in partnership with Cancer Research UK introduces a smiley sun character for Nivea to educate the British public about the myth that the sun is weaker at home. Sharon Jiggins, executive VP of the creative agency reveals more about the concept and issue below.

What was the brief?

The campaign is all about driving behaviour change in the UK. Our creative research showed that Brits were being sun smart when on holiday abroad, yet underestimating the British sun - a third of people do not apply sun cream while at home!

Tell us about the inception of the idea…

There is a belief that the sun in the UK is not the same as the sun abroad. This is compounded by a number of widely accepted myths – including that you can't burn through cloud and that the sun at home is not as strong as the sun abroad. We needed an attention-grabbing campaign that stood out from the norm.

Mr. Sun was created to be the star of our two quintessentially British films; he is a droll new character whose reaction to people's misplaced beliefs is the catalyst to rethink their behaviour.

What was the biggest challenge?

Creating Mr. Sun! We were briefed to create a new character that would resonate with kids and adults alike. To create Mr. Sun from scratch was a challenge; we didn't want him to appear too cartoon-like or seem scary to younger audiences. As part of the creative development, we researched different iterations with children and parents, to make sure we hit the right note. Our ambition was to create a loveable character in Mr. Sun who could help Brits follow sun-safe behaviours while having more fun in the sun.

How did the various teams on the production work together?

After researching Mr. Sun's character to perfect him in static form, we teamed up with award-winning VFX company (and character experts!) Framestore to bring him to life further in CGI. They developed his mannerisms, his facial expressions, his corona and helped work out shooting practicalities given Mr. Sun is a light source himself. Our director (Mike Maguire) then built the comedy performance into his character and scripts to ensure that Mr. Sun personified the British sense of humour that would resonate with our audience.

What about the music/sound and effects?

For the music, we wanted to pick a track that hadn't been used commercially before that Mr. Sun could really own...we landed on the 1978 track Sunshine and You by The Futures.

The mood of the track matched Mr. Sun's character well, with the track kicking in to cue Mr. Sun's entrance. We also included fire SFX for Mr. Sun's corona as a reminder that although Me Sun is loveable, his heat needs to be respected!

Why does the idea work for the brand?

Because it plays on quirky British humour and awkwardness. NIVEA liked the idea as it was something completely different to what has gone before in the suncream category -it's really attention-grabbing.

Why do you think it resonates with the audience?

Findings from our creative research showed that parents apply sunscreen to their kids, but never on themselves - they tend not to think twice about it.

It resonated better with audiences to have a child telling their dad to wear sunscreen instead. Ultimately, our hope is that people think about using sun cream here in the UK whether they are sitting in a pub garden, going for a walk or playing with their kids in a park.

Why was this the best way to present the campaign considering there are so many media channels out there today?

The film stands out on TV and VoD, and our dynamic outdoor advertising showed live location data to reiterate that sun protection is needed - at home, not just abroad. Also, having the campaign running in broadcast channels means we hope through pester power kids will be reminding their mums and dads to slap on the sun cream.

What do you hope people take away from the work?

With our unpredictable weather where the merest hint of sunshine seeing us Brits racing outside, we want it to become second nature for people to apply sun cream here.


There's Only One Sun
Through the Clouds
Behind the Scenes


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