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Trading a Sun Tan for Free Wi-fi

As far as Public Service Announcements go, I’ve found the first one that I both love and hate. Shadow Wi-fi, a large (and slightly ominous) blue wall, was recently erected on Playa Agua Dulce Beach in Peru.

Developed by Happiness Anywhere in conjunction with Liga Contra el Cancer (League Against Cancer), this giant wall is a breakthrough communications tactic designed to promote sun safety awareness in a unique way: it allows only those in its shadow on the beach access to free wi-fi. It’s brilliant: offering a highly desired benefit while getting people out of the sun between 12pm and 4pm, when UV rays are most harmful. The big blue wall is said to soon be making its way to the US West Coast as well.

Forgoing the scare tactics of skin cancer ads and images, Shadow Wi-fi instead plays to our biggest downfall: our overwhelming need for technological connection. As the shadow moves throughout the afternoon, the wi-fi range uses some fancy antennae to move as well, forcing those who want to continue free wi-fi access to pick up and move to stay shaded.

The success of Shadow Wi-fi is a true testament to the fact that, even when we’re outside enjoying the weather and each other, we still can’t bear to be too far from our Instagram feeds. That’s the only thing I hate about this smart promotion; I hate that our hyper-connectivity can be used as a target for companies and advertisers.

I do love that this is for a good cause and not to sell us something, though. It is such a clever way to raise awareness about skin cancer while also playing a part to prevent it – even if it is just a few dozen Instajunkies at a time.

Sarah Yeager, Account Coordinator, The S3 Agency


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