• O2 – the only major UK network provider to offer inclusive EU Roaming up to 25GB as standard – has partnered with The British Skin Foundation and Green People to prevent Brits from getting burnt this summer.
  • Merging smartphones with sunscreen, the campaign aims to encourage holidaymakers to protect their skin through the creation of ‘Sun Case’ which is available in selected O2 stores.
  • The integrated PR campaign launches during Skin Cancer Awareness Month and aims to highlight the importance of sun safety.
  • The British Skin Foundation reports skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK and rates continue to rise, with at least 100,000 new cases now diagnosed annually and more than 2,500 people killed by the disease each year – that’s seven people every day.

To mark Skin Cancer Awareness Month, O2 has partnered with The British Skin Foundation and organic skin care brand, Green People, to merge smartphones with sunscreen and create a limited-edition mobile phone accessory with a built-in 10ml tube of SPF to remind holidaymakers to ‘top up’ their protection while in the sun.

The campaign, which is rooted in the insight that Brits are three times more likely to remember to take their phone when heading off on holiday than they are sunscreen*, taps into this common holiday mishap and brings together two holiday essentials to create this summer’s must-have mobile accessory – ‘Sun Case’.

Sun Case is a chic and convenient mobile accessory that sticks neatly onto the back of a variety of phones so any one can use it, aiming to remind holiday goers to pay as much attention to their sun protection as they do to their mobile phone.

As part of the campaign, O2 conducted research into Brits’ habits and misconceptions around sun protection, finding that despite nine in 10 acknowledge the importance of protecting their skin, only two in five (43%) always wear sunscreen while on holiday. Worryingly, of those who do use sunscreen, one in 10 only do so when they sense they ‘might’ be burning.

When asked why people don’t use sunscreen, 23% admitted to forgetting to bring it and a further 20% claimed it feels too oily on the skin. The research also found 7% deem sunscreen unnecessary as they have black or brown skin – which is a misconception commonly believed, with almost one in 10 (9%) of the general population thinking those who have darker skin tones do not need sunscreen.

Most concerning of all, it seems sun safety is so low down on British holidaymakers’ agenda, that a shocking 6.4 million admit to shunning sunscreen altogether in a bid to catch a tan**.

As the only major UK network provider not to burn customers with EU roaming charges, O2 wanted to show up for its customers in a fitting and authentic way. Inspired by Hailey Bieber’s viral Rhode ‘Lip Case’, O2 created its slick mobile accessory with the aim of putting an emergency top up sunscreen supply directly into customers’ hands, ensuring the product is genuinely helpful so EU roaming charges aren’t the only thing they won’t get burnt by.

The 100% sustainable bioplastic phone accessory comes with a 10ml bottle of Green People’s Age Defy+ Daily SPF30 facial sunscreen, acting as a helpful top-up in case consumers get caught out in the sun. O2’s Sun Case fits perfectly onto a variety of handsets so consumers can be protected no matter what phone they have.

Christian Hindennach, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Media O2, said: “The sun isn’t the only thing at risk of burning consumers this summer as research indicates a family of four could spend around £100 in roaming fees during a two-week holiday in Europe – that’s a lot of additional money to spend on top of the cost of the trip. Through our partnerships with the British Skin Foundation and Green People, we want to equip our customers with helpful information about how to protect their skin while ensuring they don’t have to worry about getting burnt by unwanted roaming charges.”

Green People’s founder, Charlotte Vøhtz, said: “Don’t let sunburn steal your summer memories. Sunburn, premature ageing, and skin cancer are all consequences of sun damage and are the holiday souvenirs that no one wants. Make SPF your priority!”

Lisa Bickerstaffe, Head of Comms at The British Skin Foundation, said: “At the BSF we know that UV rays damage the skin and can potentially cause health problems in the future, so we’re proud to work together with O2 on this initiative by providing expert advice on sun safety to educate the public.”

Sun Case launches ahead of a fully integrated marketing campaign to highlight the unique benefits of roaming on O2, which will be the second phase under the new banner ‘Only O2’, with support across PR, social and customer marketing. A 10” social video dedicated to Sun Case will run on O2’s social channels at launch alongside influencer activity throughout the summer. O2 customers also have the chance to win a Sun Case accessory via O2’s customer newsletter or can head to a selected O2 store to pick one up.

The limited-edition free mobile phone accessory will be available at selected O2 stores across the country from 15 May 2024, while stocks last, including London, Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and Belfast, so people, regardless of their mobile provider, can grab one ahead of holiday season. Members of the public simply need to head to a participating O2 store and say “don’t get burnt” to a staff member at the till to get theirs.

Virgin Media broadband and O2 customers can also enjoy an exclusive 30% discount on all Green People products via Priority from O2 from 1 May 2024 until 31 May 2024, helping to keep their skin protected while they’re out and about in the sun this summer.


For more information, please contact: vmo2roaming@hopeandglorypr.com

*The research was conducted by Censuswide with 2,000 Natrep UK respondents between 02.04.2024 – 03.04.2024. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles and are members of The British Polling Council.

**12% of 18-90 YOs (53,646,829) in the UK = 6,437,619 (ONS population 2022 estimates)

Notes to Editor

  • All O2 airtime plans come with inclusive EU roaming as standard, up to 25GB. For more information about O2’s inclusive EU roaming, visit: Roaming in Europe | Pay Monthly | Help | O2
  • ‘Sun Case’ is available for a limited time only, while stocks last. Consumers can get the accessory on a first come first serve basis from the following O2 stores:
    • London: 120 Oxford St, London W1D 1LT
    • Cardiff: Unit Lg10, St Davids, St Davids Centre, Cardiff CF10 2ER
    • Edinburgh: 129 St James Crescent St James Quarter Edinburgh EH1 3AD Scotland.
    • Belfast: 14-16 Castle Ln, Belfast BT1 5DA
    • Birmingham: 24 New St, Birmingham B2 4RQ
    • Manchester Market St: Unit 5, 39 Market St, Manchester M1 1WR

About Virgin Media O2

Virgin Media O2 launched on 1 June 2021, combining the UK’s largest and most reliable mobile network with a broadband network offering the fastest widely-available broadband speeds. It is a customer-first organisation that brings a range of connectivity services together in one place with a clear mission: to upgrade the nation. Virgin Media O2 is the corporate brand of the 50:50 joint venture between Liberty Global and Telefónica SA, and one of the UK’s largest businesses.

The company has 47 million UK connections across broadband, mobile, TV and home phone. Its own fixed network currently passes 15.5 million premises alongside a mobile network that covers 99% of the nation’s population with 4G, and almost 200 towns and cities with 5G services. Virgin Media O2 is committed to delivering gigabit broadband speeds across its entire network footprint by the end of 2021 and plans to upgrade its fixed network to full fibre to the premises with completion in 2028.

Virgin Media O2 is a major investor in the UK. It employs around 18,000 people, has more than 430 retail stores and has committed to invest at least £10 billion over the next five years.

As integration work progresses at pace, both Virgin Media and O2 continue to offer their respective products to customers, with new, joint services launching soon.

Today, the business delivers award-winning broadband and WiFi connectivity to homes as well as providing a connected entertainment service. This brings together live TV, thousands of hours of on-demand programming and a wide-selection of apps to customers through a set-top box and on-the-go through tablets and smartphones.

About Green People

Green People is the UK’s number-one brand for sensitive skin. Founded over 25 years ago, Green People is the UK’s pioneer in certified organic skin care, leading the way with over 150 innovative natural formulas for the whole family.

Green People’s best-selling sun care offers broad-spectrum UV protection. The soothing, antioxidant-rich formulas are suitable for those prone to prickly heat and eczema and are also dermatologically tested and clinically proven to be gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin.

Green People is proud to be an environmentally friendly brand. All products are cruelty-free, vegan, and ocean-friendly and come in recyclable packaging.

Available from www.greenpeople.co.uk.

About The British Skin Foundation

The British Skin Foundation is the only UK charity that raises money to fund research into all types of skin diseases, including skin cancer. While we are dedicated to raising money for research, we also aim to raise awareness of skin diseases in the wider community. We’re committed to educating people about skin conditions, helping to reduce stigma an promote understanding.


Social @BSFcharity

Journalists can contact the Virgin Media O2 press office on:
press@virginmediao2.co.uk 01753 565656
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