As Canadians we have probably never heard of this slogan before, but if you’re Australian, or a Kiwi, this is probably well known to you. Slip-Slop-Slap was part of a sun protection campaign that ran in Australia and New Zealand in the 1980s. According to the Cancer Council, it was one of the most successful health campaigns in Australian history.
In the campaign, a seagull named Sid wearing board shorts, a t-shirt and hat, tap-danced and sang a catchy jingle to remind you the three easy ways to protect yourself against skin cancer. The jingle went like this:
Slip, Slop, Slap! It sounds like a breeze when you say it like that. Slip, Slop, Slap! In the sun we always say "Slip Slop Slap!" Slip, Slop, Slap! Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat, Slip, Slop, Slap! You can stop skin cancer – say: "Slip, Slop, Slap!"
In 2007, the slogan was updated to Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide to reflect the importance of also seeking shade from the sun and sliding on sunglasses to protect the eyes from sun damage.
Since the campaign, the incidence of two common forms of skin cancer: basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas, in Australia have decreased. After 25 years, the data shows that broad public education programs on skin cancer prevention can improve a population’s sun protection behaviours and reduce sunburns, ultimately reducing the risk of skin cancer.
Do you think Canada should implement such a public health program for sun protection? We do!