The best of non-profit advertising and marketing for social causes

Show some skin while covering up

Show some skin while covering up

Fashion Designer Marc Jacobs and business partner Robert Duffy (a melanoma survivor) have been raising awareness about skin cancer with their “protect the skin you’re in” tee shirts since 2006. The shirts feature modest photos of nude celebrities, including Winona Ryder, Rufus Wainwright, Selma Blair, Eva Mendes, and Julianne Moore. The newest nudes include Miranda Kerr, Gigalianne Braga, Lily Aldridge, Milla Jovovich and Sean Avery.



The shirts are available only directly from Mark Jacobs, and what’s really strange is how hard it is to get information about this campaign. After a frustrating Google search, I found an old blogpost that claimed the initial campaign raised almost $400,000 for the NYU School of Medicine’s Interdisciplinary Melanoma Cooperative Group, but the information doesn’t seem to be on Jacobs’ own site anymore. The sole outreach seems to be on the campaign’s Facebook page

The campaign has generated a good deal of positive PR for Jacobs over the years, but the campaign could do so much more if the shirts were made more widely available, and if the campaign had a better online presence. As it is, it seems far too focused on getting people into the store. And while I can understand that this exclusivity builds demand and perceived value for the shirts, I don’t think it benefits the cause.

So is this true corporate responsibility? Is it good social marketing? Is it self-serving? Is it slacktivism? These are all very subjective issues. But I would like to add that the male version of the shirts is hilarious:


Continue reading to see two more new releases.



Marc Jacobs
PTSYI Facebook page

I am Creative Director at Acart Communications, a Canadian Social Issues Marketing agency. Read more