POST B: Slip! Slop! Slap!

Slip! Slop! Slap! was an Australian public health campaign that had a sun safety message which generated a positive influence on attitude and outcome (Melanoma Research Victoria 2014). Perhaps the reason why this campaign has been so memorable, even twenty years after the campaign aired (Paul 2003) was because it evoked a positive feeling in a young audience and their guardians, which was created by the use of a jingle paired with an animated scenario starring a talking seagull. The campaign was televised in Australian homes which was an effective way of advertising to a large audience in the late 20th century (O’Barr 2010). Slip! Slop! Slap! was one of the most influential public health campaigns in Australia and has resonated throughout cancer prevention campaigns since its inception in 1980 (Montague et al. 2001).


(Volunteer lifesavers stand together and form the words ‘slip slop slap’ on the backs of their shirts during an anti-skin cancer campaign at Bondi Beach in Sydney 2006)

Cancer Council Victoria, part of the federal council, is a government agency that funded this campaign. The initiative was interdisciplinary as it allowed a broadcaster, animator and sound designer to collaborate. Phillip Adams (Broadcaster), Peter Best (Composer) and Alexander Stitt (Animator) was the team behind the campaign below:

Slip Slop Slap Ad (1988)

By 1988, almost a decade after Slip! Slop! Slap!’s release, Cancer Council Victoria rebranded themselves and transformed the campaign into SunSmart, a branch of the Cancer Council which was created to publicise cancer prevention to institutions. SunSmart developed capacity in community through policy development advocacy, research and evaluation as well as educational material, sporting event sponsorship (Montague et al. 2001) and more recently in the 2010s era, developing a UV forecast app for smartphones to continue the SunSmart message and brand relevance (Jenkins 2017).

The effectiveness and success of this campaign was viewed through the lowering of skin cancers by 5% each year from 1990-2010 (Melanoma Research Victoria 2014). This success was achieved through the contextual understanding of Australian culture. Slang language adds to the cultural meaning of the message because it brings a sense of familiarity and ease to it.

Designers can evoke feelings. This is a powerful tool that can either create positive or negative change. The current method of anti tobacco campaigns are to generate fear in the smoker through disgusting graphic imagery to promote a change in lifestyle (Halkjelsvik 2015). Comparatively this tactic may appear dissimilar to those used in Slip! Slop! Slap! however they both manipulate their audiences through emotion.

Policy or behaviour change that is achieved by imprinting new values in childhood about the negative effects of an issue through education is an effective solution for it to diminish. Similarly, educating at an early age about health problems caused by tobacco could be an effective solution to combat the issue, however in a context like Central Java, the culture of smoking is aggressively advertised to satisfy political and economical interests (Nichter et al. 2009).


Anti-cancer council Victoria 1980, Slip! Slop! Slap! – The Original Sid the Seagull Video, YouTube, viewed 20 November 2019, <;.

Anti-cancer council Victoria 1988, Slip Slop Slap Ad (1988), YouTube, viewed 20 November 2019, <;.

Burgess, W. 2006, Volunteer lifesavers stand together and form the words ‘slip slop slap’ on the backs of their shirts during an anti-skin cancer campaign at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Reuters, viewed 20 November 2019, <;.

Halkjelsvik, T. & Rise, J. 2015, ‘Disgust in fear appeal anti-smoking advertisements: The effects on attitudes and abstinence motivation’, Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 362-9.

Jenkins, E. 2017, “Bringing the “SunSmart” message to smart phones”, Lancet Oncology, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 293.

Marks, R. 2002, ‘The changing incidence and mortality of melanoma in Australia’, Cancers of the Skin, Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp. 113-121.

Montague, M., Borland, R. & Sinclair, C. 2001, ‘Slip! Slop! Slap! and SunSmart, 1980-2000: Skin cancer control and 20 years of population-based campaigning’, Health Education & Behavior, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 290-305.

Nichter, M., Padmawati, S., Danardono, M., Ng, N., Prabandari, Y. & Nichter, M. 2009, ‘Reading culture from tobacco advertisements in Indonesia’, Tobacco Control, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 98-107.

O’Barr, W.M. 2010, ‘The Rise and Fall of the TV Commercial’, Advertising & Society Review, vol. 11, no. 2.

Paul, A. 2003, ‘The Slip Slop Slap years: have they had a lasting impact on today’s adolescents?’, Health promotion journal of Australia, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 219-21.


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