Checking your skin

13 July 2012

Did you know the skin is the body’s largest organ? Do you know the difference between SKs and BCCs?

Guy Leech, UV Cameras and Skin Checks, have been a big part of our lives for over a year and a half.

For the past 18 months the H+K health team have been instrumental in developing a skin cancer awareness campaign on behalf of LEO Pharma called Know Your Own Skin. While most sun protection campaigns focus on prevention, for many the damage has already be done. Our research showed that Australians who grew up before ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’ already have damage – and don’t know how to recognise it, or what to do about it. Armed with this knowledge we knew we needed to raise awareness of sun damage, with a focus on the 40+ age group. The aim: to help encourage Australians to conduct regular self skin checks, raising any concerns with their GP, in conjunction with equipping healthcare professionals with tools to conduct simple skin checks.

Know Your Own Skin is a multi-platform campaign, which the H+K health team members have worked tirelessly on. A website has been developed, and an iPhone app was launched, which we can proudly say has had more than 6,000 downloads in the past 3 months.  We engaged IronMan champion Guy Leech, who has personal experience of sun damage, as our campaign ambassador. We organised grassroots activities including educational booths at the Gold Coast, Portsea and Newcastle IronMan events. The team went to ACP and Pacific magazines publishing houses to show the health writers the importance of skin checks, and to launch the new app. We brought the beach to the city and gave free skin checks to the public to raise awareness of the damage a summer under the sun could do.

We used our research to come up with engaging and newsworthy headlines such as “Over one third of Australian’s don’t think they are at risk of sun damage because they currently avoid the sun and use sun protection. However, for the vast majority of ’babyboomers‘, the damage has already been done.”

We can now say everyone at H+K Strategies is skin savvy and checks their skin regularly.

I’ll leave you with one questions, have you checked your skin lately?

Time to ‘Man up’ – The forgotten world of men’s health

18 June 2012

Face paint, sheds and growing excessive body hair. Blokes are simple beasts when it comes to tactics used during men’s health campaigns. Or are they? Is it time to reconsider ways of raising health awareness for men?

It’s frankly not always a great prognosis to be a male. The odds of living a longer life are clearly skewed in a woman’s favour. Cancer rates are higher, alongside obesity, smoking, drinking, and depression. Bottom line; men don’t like going to the doctor, and they don’t always like admitting there is a problem.

In our business it’s about creating messages and campaigns that spur men into action. But when it comes to health awareness campaigns are we missing a trick in the way we communicate to men directly?

Women are often the channel. Target the female, as the primary care giver, and they will get the job done, (via their telepathic powers).

Greg Canning, a GP recently told the Sydney Morning Herald that many doctors surgeries appeared more female-friendly with magazines and posters aimed at women’s health, but what about the blokes? This was symbolic of the neglect of men’s health issues, he said.

While it makes sense to indirectly target men via their wives, children or mothers how do we get men to start thinking about their health in the first place?

Academics agree that while the Government has set aside funds to address ‘male health challenges’ men’s’ health remains often forgotten.

Solutions are not always obvious. Audiences, including men are becoming more discerning. Organisations such as Beyond Blue, the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Cancer Council have carved out successful targeted men’s health campaigns. The Government has also invested in the Menshed Australia Association taking the conversation from the couch to the backyard, with positive results.

But with an already cluttered market of health messages is it time we considered new tactics in the way we get their attention. Free beer not included.

Sarah Prestwood is an Associate Director at H+K Strategies