Case Study: Come Out Swinging Integrated Campaign

Come Out Swinging
Project Title
Come Out Swinging Integrated Campaign
May through September 2011

Project Brief

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and the fastest growing form of all cancers in the United States. Additionally, the disease remains the most underfunded of all cancers by federal and private agencies. Come Out Swinging was created to fight against and help prevent melanoma, primarily through various advocacy programs and events, education initiatives and research fundraising. The startup organization’s goal is to elevate melanoma to the same awareness and engagement as more well-known cancer efforts.


All of the advertising and design services were provided pro bono. The production budget was $5000.


Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and the fastest growing form of all cancers in the United States. Spending time outdoors exposes our skin to ultraviolet (UV) rays, leading to an increase in the production of melanin in skin cells. This is what causes our skin to tan. However, when skin is overly exposed to ultraviolet light these cells begin to grow abnormally and become cancerous, otherwise known as melanoma. 

10 Facts about melanoma

  1. Everyone is at risk for developing melanoma
  2. Melanoma and skin cancer is the fastest growing form of all cancers in the United States, yet remains the most underfunded of all cancers by federal and private agencies
  3. There is no effective treatment available for advanced melanoma
  4. One in 50 people will develop melanoma this year
  5. More than one person dies from melanoma every hour
  6. Over one million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year, outnumbering the total number of other cancers combined
  7. If a person has had five sunburns at any age, their risk for melanoma doubles
  8. First exposure to tanning beds in youth increases melanoma risk by 75%
  9. Melanoma is the most common cancer killer of young women, even more common that breast cancer in ages 30–34
  10. There has been a 2000% increase in melanoma incidence since 1930

Sources:  Melanoma International Foundation, American Melanoma Foundation,, Skin Cancer Foundation


In today’s society, you cannot go into a major U.S. retailer without seeing dozens of products and packaging wrapped in pink to support breast cancer awareness. Despite the fact that melanoma is the fastest growing form of all cancers in the U.S., it lacks that level of public awareness and support needed to open more individual’s eyes to its increasing danger. Our campaign needed to make people think twice about the consequences of not taking skin protection seriously, and drive visits to the Come Out Swinging website to learn more about their efforts to lead the fight against melanoma.

Program Objectives:

  1. Generate educational awareness about the real dangers of overexposure to skin.
  2. Drive traffic to the Come Out Swinging website to invite our audience to learn, give and share in the fight against melanoma. 

This campaign focused on communicating three simple but critical words—Respect the Spot.

POSTERS AT EVENTS: Individuals are quick to dismiss the seriousness of melanoma and skin cancer in general. We intended to expose the hard truth that even something as inconspicuous as a mole on your skin can have deadly consequences. Developed around our “Respect the Spot” rallying cry, the campaign helped drive that point home. Each poster features the exposed back of an individual with what at first glance looks like an unassuming mole. Upon closer inspection, you see each mole is actually in the shape of a deadly object — a bomb, grenade and pistol.  The posters within this campaign were distributed to area high schools, doctor’s offices and businesses from May to September 2011. 

MEDIA KIT: Our media kit included a deeper dive for journalists. From a boxing glove that plays off of the “Come Out Swinging” name of the organization to a booklet that explains “Respect The Spot” to smelling salts, we covered it all. So they could cover it all. The media kit was distributed to local press and potential major donors. Media kit distribution is an ongoing effort. 


At the consumer level, unfortunately, the inherent dangers of prolonged sun exposure are too often underestimated, or ignored altogether. Environmentally, melanoma is not considered a mainstream cancer such as breast cancer, and thus lacks adequate, if any, major organizations or celebrities endorsing proper skin protection to fight against this disease.


For an organization in its infancy, the results were impressive. The posters have helped shape the Come Out Swinging brand, and became a driving force behind ongoing advocacy efforts. The organization saw more than a 500% increase in visits to its website,, within the first week of the campaign launch alone. During the campaign, more than 10,000 web pages were viewed and average time on the site rose from under 30 seconds to nearly four minutes. Come Out Swinging raised nearly $120,000 for the fight against melanoma in 2011—a more than 150% increase from the previous year. This campaign also helped deliver the most significant donation to date:  a $125,000 commitment.

The iconic Respect the Spot campaign also gave Come Out Swinging a platform to continue to build its message upon. Instead of a one-off idea, the organization now has as a launching pad for further marketing programs.

Additional information

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This case study is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.