Two Creatives Turned Every Period on Popsugar Into a Pop-up Tip for Spotting Skin Cancer

Doner team transformed dots into warning signs

Know your ABCD&E of skin cancer. - Credit by Doner
Headshot of Doug Zanger

Taking over a website is nothing new, but for two creative directors, their message is personal. Doner ECD Brad Emmett and ACD Mark Adler are both skin cancer survivors and looked to influential lifestyle platform Popsugar to spread the word in a unique way—by hijacking the periods at the end of sentences.

Through the end of September, visitors who roll over the periods in wellness articles and beauty tip stories will see them morph into reminders about skin cancer awareness (try it here). The pop-ups link to materials on detecting suspicious spots from Melanoma Know More, a site dedicated to skin cancer education.

Though most people think about skin cancer in the summer months, the Doner team was looking to extend the conversation on Popsugar, which reportedly reaches 50 percent of millennial women in the U.S.

“Almost all melanoma awareness efforts happen from May through August, so we wanted to emphasize the importance of melanoma screening year-round,” Emmett says. “While sunscreen is widely recognized as a summertime accessory, you can still get burned in the dead of winter, and changes in your skin are much less noticeable when you’re wearing pants and sweaters. In no way is skin cancer exclusive to summer, so we wanted to ensure the conversation didn’t end with the season.”

According to the Skin Cancer Society, there are more new cases of skin cancer than breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers combined. Additionally, it is estimated that by the age of 70, one in five people will have had non-melanoma skin cancer in their lifetime.

“My own experience started small, at just 17 years old. That spot on the back of my leg could have been deadly had my mom not urged me to see a doctor,” Emmett says. “I learned that most people–especially young people–still don’t take skin cancer seriously and that in many cases melanoma isn’t first detected by a doctor, but by a loved one. When caught early, skin cancer is one of the most curable forms of cancer. We want everyone to know what to look for because that is the only way more people will get checked.”

Doner has also offered to make the technology used on Popsugar available to any brand or media company that is open to having their periods hacked to spread the message of skin cancer awareness and prevention further.


Agency: Doner

Chief Creative Officer: Eric Weisberg
Executive Creative Director: Brad Emmett (survivor)
Creative Director: Rob Legato
Writer: Mark Adler (survivor)
Art Director: Angelo Patrona
Developer of Technology: Sean Schricker
Director of Digital production: Julian Smith

Media Partner: Popsugar

@zanger Doug Zanger is a senior editor, agencies at Adweek, focusing on creativity and agencies.
Publish date: August 29, 2018 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT