The Cancer Council and the Australian Government have created a campaign with a mission to get more men slip, slop, slapping (and seeking and sliding).
The reason? It’s estimated that men are almost twice as likely as women to die from melanoma, according to new Cancer Council research. The data also revealed only 45 percent of Australian men agree sun protection is part of their daily routine, and were half as likely as women to apply daily SPF in summer.
To tackle this problem, the Government and Cancer Council have teamed up with sports stars Michael Klim and Brad Hodge. The Olympic swimmer and former cricketer are not just recognisable sportsmen, but sportsmen who spent most of their careers outdoors.
The two have come together in a quirky ‘in-sun’ safety video. The spot is designed to ensure Australian men are thinking about sun safety every time they step outside – just as they think about in-flight safety every time they board a plane.
As Klim steps into his car on the way to “Stevo’s barbecue”, he is perplexed to see a cheerful flight attendant appear. Instead of showing him the exit doors, the attendant points to the shady areas and encourages Klim to wear a sun protective shirt.
It’s a light-hearted approach that applies a layer of protection from the morbidity of the topic.
“We are asking all Australians, in particular men aged over 40, to think of sun safety every time they head outdoors,” says the federal minister for health and aged care, Mark Butler.
“This video is a fun way to encourage that group to think twice and be SunSmart, whether that’s while playing a round of backyard cricket or on the tools at work.”
A selective approach for skin cancer messaging
Although melanoma is considered our ‘national cancer’, it’s not unusual for advocacy groups in Australia to take targeted approaches for problem audiences. In December 2022, the Melanoma Institute Australia partnered with TikTok Australia to inspire Gen Zs to lose the tan following alarming #tanning #sunburn challenges trending on the app.
Some influencers have taken on the advocacy work themselves. One such influencer was Natalie Fornasier, who died in January at age 28 after a melanoma diagnosis had become terminal. She used her diagnosis to raise awareness around the importance of sun protection and getting skin checks across her own social accounts and publications generally aimed at women.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer and needs support, help is available. You can contact Cancer Council’s free and confidential support line on 13 11 20 – for practical, emotional and financial support.