The Skin Cancer Foundation Announces a New Approach to Early Detection with “The Big See®

New Public Health Campaign Urges Americans to Be on the Lookout for Anything New, Changing or Unusual.

New York, NY (June 25, 2019) – The Skin Cancer Foundation, the leading nonprofit organization focused on public and professional education, is launching a new campaign called The Big See®. The multiyear public service campaign, which rolls out nationwide this month, seeks to empower people to take a proactive approach to skin cancer detection.

The Big SeeThe Big See leverages the seriousness of cancer (the big C) while highlighting the unique characteristic of skin cancer, which is that we can actually see it. The pro bono campaign was conceptualized and executed by Digitas Health, an agency within the Publicis network, and with whom the Foundation has been working since 2017.  It was championed by Susan Manber, chief strategy officer for Digitas Health and a survivor of Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare and aggressive form of skin cancer.

“I will forever be grateful to my daughter, Sarina, for asking me, ‘Mom, what’s that thing on your nose?’ Had I ignored her, even for a few weeks, I wouldn’t be here today,” says Manber. “That’s why my personal mission is to do everything in my power to help people prevent and detect skin cancer and, ultimately, to end death from the disease. It was incredibly meaningful for me to partner with the Foundation on a public service campaign that drives early detection.”

One in five Americans develop skin cancer, and more than two people die every hour from the disease. The good news is that when caught and treated early, skin cancer is highly curable. When allowed to progress, however, it can cause disfigurement and even death. That’s why The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that adults see a dermatologist at least once a year for a skin exam and perform monthly self-exams at home.

Centering on “What’s That?” as its catchphrase, the campaign reminds people to look for anything on their skin that’s newchanging or unusual.

“As we celebrate our 40th birthday, we’re taking a critical look at what we’ve accomplished so far and deciding how best to adapt our messaging and programs for the next chapter of our work,” says Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD, president of The Skin Cancer Foundation. “We decided that the best way to save more lives is to simplify the conversation around the warning signs of skin cancer. Everyone can understand the concept of looking for something that’s new, changing or unusual. The Big See campaign aims to inspire you to open your eyes, get to know your skin, look in the mirror and keep these three words in mind – new, changing, unusual – they could save your life.”

The Big See

As part of the campaign, the Foundation filmed its first TV commercial in more than a decade. The broadcast PSA was filmed on a San Diego boardwalk and captured passersby engaging with a high-tech mirror featuring text and voice messages. The mirror connected with each person and encouraged everyone to check themselves for signs of skin cancer and to visit a dermatologist for a professional skin exam. The Big See campaign will also include a social media effort, print advertisements and a guerilla initiative as well.

What's That?People across the country will encounter The Big See as the Foundation embarks on a “mirror takeover” in various locations. Mirrors are a perfect tool to help people identify potential skin cancers. Therefore, the Digitas Health team created branded mirror clings for the Foundation to place in businesses and public spaces with help from its partners. With these clings, the Foundation hopes to build awareness about the importance of identifying and acting on any concerns. All campaign elements encourage people to visit to learn more about early detection.

The Big See campaign kicked off last week at the Cannes Lion International Festival of Creativity, where Becky Kamowitz, the Foundation’s senior director of marketing communications and Maral Skelsey, MD, a physician spokesperson for the Foundation, accompanied Manber on a “Behind the Work” panel discussion about the campaign. The panel examines how the best creative health-care ideas are born and bred – and come to life in campaigns.


About The Skin Cancer Foundation
The Skin Cancer Foundation is the only global organization solely devoted to the prevention, early detection and treatment of skin cancer. The mission of the Foundation is to decrease the incidence of skin cancer through public and professional education and research. Since its inception in 1979, the Foundation has recommended following a complete sun protection regimen that includes seeking shade and covering up with clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses, in addition to daily sunscreen use. For more information, visit


Make a Donation
Find a Dermatologist

Recommended Products