Post B: Slip Slop Slap

(Cancer Council Victoria 2010)

The Campaign

The phrase ‘Slip Slop Slap’ has been ingrained into our memories as with other sun-conscious Aussie sayings such as ‘No Hat No Play’. The slogan, ‘Slip on a shirt, Slop on some sunscreen, Slap on a hat’, began as a transdisciplinary top-down mass-media campaign in the 1980s promoting sun-health for families and was soon synonymous with sun protection for everyone by the end of the next decade. It was created by the Anti-Cancer Council as funded by the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, a fund that was created by taxing cigarettes and redirecting the money raised into health promotion and the sponsorship of sports and arts (Marks, R. 1990). What started out as a response to the need to increase the awareness of the devastating effects of skin cancer has grown into an ongoing series of campaigns set to change perceptions in individuals, communities and organisations.

The Context

(Montague, M. 2001)

Media messages are always carefully tailored with the prevailing culture and community awareness. The early introduction of the campaign was “positive, encouraging, and designed to be happy” (Montague M. et al. 2001, p. 301) with Sid the Seagull educating the ways to enjoy our wonderful climate whilst having fun.  With the growing sophistication of the public’s knowledge, the campaign moved onto the next stage of providing detailed information explaining the protective methods in preventing skin cancer. This stage of the campaign was received well with adults, however, both approaches failed to reach young adults as they were perceived to be too childish and too content-heavy. Research conducted in high school subjects revealed that although the ‘Slip Slop Slap’ slogan was highly recalled by these students, the childhood associations of cartoons and jingles had lowered the perceived urgency to act. Results shown preference to anti-smoking and safe-driving campaigns with ‘shock’ value to communicate consequences. This resulted in the introduction of hard-hitting, graphic advertisements such as ‘Time Bomb’ depicting the real-life effects on real people (Paul C. et al. 2003). The analytical and reflective reactions to the results signify the early successes of the campaign. However, raising awareness of skin cancer prevention was only the first step, now change needed to be seen.

(Cancer Council Victoria 2010)

The Change

The early identifier of the campaign’s success in changing attitudes was in conducting surveys in the prevailing beach-culture of Australian lifestyle. Since the campaign was launched, the percentage of Victorians who “liked to get a suntan [decreased] from 61% in 1988 to 35% in 1998… those agreeing that ‘I feel more healthy with a suntan’ [fell] from 51% to 20%… [also resulting in] a 50% reduction in people getting sunburnt.” (Montague, M. et al. 2001, p.2-3). The program researchers understood that in order to make structural and environmental change, shifts in behaviours and attitudes needed to be made first. From then, sun protection policies have been adopted in trade unions, primary schools, local government authorities, sport and leisure organisations, as well as workplaces (Redman, K. et al. 2001). Since the beginning of the campaign, it had been found that “rates of [melanoma incidence] has slowed since” and that an estimated “43,000 skin cancers and 1,400 skin cancer deaths in Victoria [have been prevented].” (Shih, S. et al. 2017).

Through ongoing evaluation and implementation of strategies, what began as a catchy jingle has developed into the national awareness of skin cancer prevention. By understanding the issue and the community, effective campaigns are created to reduce the devastating grasp of skin cancer on the population. This is a valuable lesson for the success of public health campaigns in a range of contexts, such as the tobacco problem in Indonesia. Although this issue’s complete erradication is far in the future, it is recognised that “the job is not finished, but much has been accomplished.” (Montague, M. 2001).


Cancer Council Victoria 2010, Slip! Slop! Slap! – The original Sid the seagull video, advertisement, YouTube, viewed 18 November 2019, <;.

Cancer Council Victoria 2010, Timebomb – SunSmart, advertisement, YouTube, viewed 18 November 2019, <;.

Marks, R. 1990, ‘Skin cancer control in the 1990’s, from Slip! Slop! Slap! to SunSmart’, Australia’s J. Dermatol, vol. 31, pp. 1-4.

Montague, M. Roland, B. & Sinclair, C. 2001, ‘Slip! Slop! Slap! and SunSmart, 1980-2000: Skin cancer control and 20 years of population-based campaigning’, Health Education & Behaviour, vol. 28, pp. 290-301.

Paul, C. Tzelepis, F. Girgis, A. & Parfitt, N. 2003, ‘The Slip Slop Slap years: Have they had a lasting impact on today’s adolescents?’, Health Promotion Journal of Australia, vol. 14, pp 219-21.

Redman, K. Sinclair, C. & Stent, S. 2001, ‘SunSmart – Twenty years on’, Health Education & Behaviour, vol. 28.

Shih, STF. Carter, R. Heward, S. & Sinclair, C. 2017, New study shows SunSmart success as melanomas decrease in Victoria, Australia, viewed 18 November 2019, <;.

POST B: Happy New Smear

Cervical cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths amongst women globally, with approximately 530,000 new cases every year. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016) In Australia, numerous cervical cancer initiatives have appeared over the past two decades via a diverse range of media, encouraging women to receive regular check ups and the often “uncomfortable” Pap test. In December 2017, the two-yearly Pap test was removed and reintroduced with the five-yearly National Cervical Screening Program; a more effective and accurate technology used to detect potentially problematic signs. (Medianet, 2018) As a result of the change, in 2018 The Aids Council of New South Wales introduced a ground-breaking campaign titled ‘The Inner Circle’, that aimed to not only educate the importance and increase participation in cervical screening, but build awareness amongst all members of the LGBTIQ+ community with a cervix. (JOY 94.9, 2018)

‘The Inner Circle’ campaign is one funded through a grant from the Cancer Institute NSW and is the first large-scale, multi-platform effort to introduce the changes to screening to any community across Australia. They incorporate digital, social and direct community engagement approaches, as well as public placements in key locations across Sydney (Medianet, 2018) to reduce stigma and promote the health service, specifically targeting the LGBTIQ+ community who are often left out of ‘mainstream’ conversation on the topic. President of ACON, Dr Justin Koonin states “it was crucial the campaign reached not just ‘lesbians’ but the full spectrum of LGBTIQ people with a cervix. It had to reflect the diversity and address the misconceptions faced by this group.” (Koonin, 2018)

Inner Circle- Happy New Smear, Aids Council of New South Wales, 2018

The Inner Circle launched on New Years Day, 2018 with a video posted to Facebook called ‘Happy New Smear’, which would be the first of many successful projects designed under the initiative. Its success is measured in numbers, with this video shared internationally and viewed more than 14,000 times. The following videos that recognised individual experiences generated close to 100,000 views while its website engaged with 2500 visitors per month. (Goodwork Agency, 2018)

“A 2014 survey found that 20 per cent of lesbian, bisexual and queer women in Sydney had never had a Pap test. People with trans experience face significant issues relating to cervical screening, such as trans men who report avoiding screening out of fear of discrimination.” (Price, 2018, para. 8) Partnering with Family Planning NSW, the campaign introduced the CheckOut clinic located in Surry Hills, Sydney, “delivering high quality services in a community-based setting.” (Bassil, 2018, para. 14)

In 2018, the initiative won the Australian Good Design Award in the Communication Design category, in recognition for outstanding design and innovation. The Inner Circle campaign continues to achieve their goals of raising awareness and interacting with LGBTIQ+ people, demonstrating a “progressive way of cervical screening.” (McGregor, 2018)

ACON Health 2018, Inner Circle – Happy New Smear, video recording, Youtube, viewed 18 November 2019, <>

Aids Council of New South Wales 2018, Check OUT The Inner Circle: Promoting Regular Cervical Screening For LGBTIQ People, Science and Medical Media Release, Medianet, Australian Associated Press, NSW, viewed 18 November 2019, <>

Aids Council of New South Wales 2019, About ACON, viewed 18 November 2019, <>

Aids Council of New South Wales 2019, New Campaign To Answer Your Questions About LGBTIQ Cervical Screening, viewed 18 November 2019, <>

Good Work 2018, don’t just make it look and sound good. Make it save lives., viewed 19 November 2019, <>

Good Work 2018, goodwork wins 2018 Good Design Award® for The Inner Circle, viewed 19 November 2019, <>

McGregor, V. 2018, ‘The Informer’, Community Broadcasting Association of Australia, radio broadcast, JOY 94.9, Melbourne, 6 February, viewed 19 November 2019, <>

PHHA 2018, Top 10 public health successes over the last 20 years, PHAA Monograph Series no. 2, Canberra: Public Health Association of Australia, viewed 18 November 2019, <>

The Inner Circle AU, About the Project, The Inner Circle, ACON, Sydney, viewed 18 November 2019, <>

William Small Jr, M.D., Monica, A., Linus, T., 2017, ‘Cervival Cancer: A Global Health Crisis’, Cancer, vol. 123, no. 13, viewed 19 November 2019, <>

Tobacco in LGBT communities: #SmokeFreeStillFierce

(ACON Health, 2016)

Tobacco advertising capitalises on the constructed perception that smoking is empowering and glamorous. These connotations are reinforced and recontextualised to sell their product across different demographics, including counter-culture groups. The mystery and glamour associated with cigarette consumption is reworked into ideals such as independence and emancipation through advertising imagery and language, which makes its way into popular culture film, music and other consumable content. (Quinlan, 2016) For example, cigarettes were marketed as ‘torches of freedom’ to women amidst the popularity of the women’s rights movement. (Lee, 2008) For the LGBTQ demographic, smoking was advertised as a liberating choice and became a pervasive part of queer party culture. (Agnew-Brune et al, 2014)

ACON’S #SmokeFreeStillFierce campaign video (ACON Health, 2016)

A 2016 NSW campaign discouraging smoking as a part of queer culture and its community is #SmokeFreeStillFierce, which is run by the NSW government LGBTI health organisation, ACON, and specifically targets lesbian, bisexual and transgender women. It was based on research conducted by ACON and the University of Sydney into the smoking habits of LGQ women and how they differed from straight current and ex-smokers. Tobacco use is generally not acknowledged as a major queer issue, even though statistics show that there is a disparity between LBGT smokers and non-LGBT smokers, especially among youth. (Malone et al, 2008)

Infographic on Tobacco use and awareness in the LGBT community (LGBT Health Equity, n.d.)

Today, American LGBT adults are smoking at a far higher percentage, at 20.6% compared to the 14.9% of heterosexuals. (Truth Initiative, 2017) There is also the possibility of increased health risks for this demographic as HIV-positive people are more susceptible to thrush and pneumonia infections, and trans women undergoing hormone therapy are at greater risk of developing heart and lung cancer if they smoke during the treatment. (Quinlan, 2016)

Personal interviews establish a supportive network surrounding the campaign (ACON Health, 2016)

The campaign is largely run through social media and the sharing of digital content, including short videos, personal interviews and downloadable resources to assist with quitting. They also organise events and online interventions, which focus on the sharing of stories and community driven aspect of the organisation.  It takes much more of a positive, light-hearted approach than is typical for anti-tobacco campaigns, which reflects the demographic they are speaking to. It is also designed to make cessation a more open, supportive experience by encouraging conversation and the sharing of personal journeys, as their research showed that most were well aware of the health risks of smoking but found little motivation and support in the heavy imagery and shock-tactics of most anti-smoking campaigns. (Wade, 2016)



ACON Health, 2016, Smoke Free Still Fierce, graphic, viewed 15 December 2017, <;.

ACON Health, 2016, Smoke Free Still Fierce, video recording, viewed 15 December 2017, <;.

ACON Health, 2016, Watch Michelle’s Story, video recording, viewed 15 December 2017, <;.

Agnew-Brune, C. B., Blosnich, J. R., Clapp, J. A., Lee, J. G. L., 2014, ‘Out smoking on the big screen: tobacco use in LGBT movies, 2000-2011, Tobacco Control, vol. 23, no. 2.

Lee, J. 8., 2008, ‘Big tobacco’s spin on women’s liberation’, The New York Times, October 10, viewed 14 December 2017, <;.

LGBT Health Equity, n.d., infographic, viewed 16 December 2017, <;.

Malone, R. E., Offen, N., Smith, E., 2008, ‘Tobacco industry targeting of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community: A white paper’, IDEAS Working Paper Series from RePEc.

Quinlan, C. 2016, ‘How the tobacco industry exploits LGBTQ people’, The Establishment, November 11, viewed 15 Decmber 2017, <;.

Truth Initiative, 2017, Tobacco is a social justice issue: LGBT communities, viewed 15 December 2017,  <;.

Wade, M., 2016, ‘Fierce campaign targets queer women’, Star Observer, May 10, viewed 16 December 2017, <;.