In the mid-1990s, the Victorian community had high awareness of Slip! Slop! Slap!
However, SunSmart was still concerned about young people's sunburn and tanning rates and decided to develop a hard-hitting, graphic advertisement.
While hard-hitting health messages are now daily television viewing, the How To Remove a Skin Cancer campaign was the first of its kind. This campaign, developed by James Woolett in 1996, provided SunSmart with significant public relations opportunities through television and radio news outlets. The launch of the advertisement in 1997 generated over 100 media stories in television news and print and radio outlets.
The advertisement was created in close consultation with skin specialists (dermatologists) and plastic surgeons in Melbourne. It accurately depicts the procedure used to remove skin cancer and graft skin onto the site. In focus groups with males and females aged 18-24 years, the response to the advertisement was strong as it quickly gained audience attention.
The advertisement ran in 1996/97 and 1997/98 seasons. Despite the small budget spend of $240,000 over the two years, the awareness level of the advertisement was 75%. During this period, SunSmart found a decreasing trend in summer sunburn rates.