One of the most successful health campaigns in Australia's history was launched in 1981, when a cheerful seagull in board shorts, t-shirt and hat danced his way across our TV screens singing the jingle.
‘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!'
At a time when melanoma rates were climbing and evidence of the link between UV radiation and skin cancer was mounting, the Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria (now Cancer Council Victoria) approached broadcaster Philip Adams – then creative director of an ad agency – to come up with a campaign that would encourage Australians to protect their skin.
Adams and colleagues, Peter Best (composer) and Alex Stitt (designer/animator), created Sid the Seagull and adapted a jingle from a Queensland Cancer Fund campaign – Slip Slop Shove – to produce the TV commercial that was an immediate hit with kids and parents alike.
Throughout the 1980s, variations of the original Slip! Slop! Slap! advertisement were produced and shown as paid advertisements and as community service announcements. They featured Sid's kids and Sid and friends in protective sunglasses and seeking shade from a tree 'between 11 and 3'. The Slip! Slop! Slap! slogan is the core message of the Cancer Council's SunSmart program and has become part of the Australian language.
Cancer Council believes its Slip! Slop! Slap! campaign has played a key role in the dramatic shift in sun protection attitudes and behaviour over the past two decades.
SunSmart has since added Seek and Slide to the message to encompass all 5 recommended sun protection measures. See the updated version here .