NOTTINGHAM, England – More than 14,000 sun worshippers tried to order a "miracle" tanning cream, unaware that it was a spoof product by a British skin cancer charity, The Sun reported Friday.
Sunny-3's hoax website boasts that the lotion "triples the power of the sun" and claims that it is especially helpful for people with fair skin.
Videos online show fake customers frolicking at "night tanning" parties on light summer evenings. More than 250,000 people saw the ads and visited the cream's website.
Set up just a week ago, it offers free samples as well as larger amounts for $12.93 -- but customers will instead get e-mails revealing the hoax and giving skin cancer information.
The charity Skcin, which is based in Nottingham, central England, and advertising firm McCann Worldgroup wanted to raise awareness of the soaring rates of the potentially-fatal disease, especially in the young. Skin cancer numbers doubled over the past 10 years.
"It was designed to engage those most at risk and those most difficult to talk to via conventional advertising," Simon Hill of McCann said.