Cockburn ARC sun smart marketing campaign slogan causes a sizzle in the community

Not everyone in the community sees the funny side to the new Cockburn ARC sun smart campaign slogan.
Not everyone in the community sees the funny side to the new Cockburn ARC sun smart campaign slogan.

CALL it funny, offensive or genius but Cockburn Aquatic and Recreation Centre’s (ARC) latest marketing campaign is creating waves.

The new sun smart campaign, which includes news signs that say “it’s not called Cockburn for nothing, apply sunscreen regularly” with the words burn in bold, has divided community members.

The $109 million centre, which is set to celebrate its first anniversary this month, is promoting being sun smart, with a tongue-in-cheek nod to the City’s name.

The ARC’s Facebook administrator posted a picture of the new sign on its page yesterday with the caption “What do you think about our new signs out near the 50m? #sunsmart #smileandthink #gettoknowus”.

More than 300 followers were quick to ‘like’ and comment on the post with some seeing the funny side, while others found it offensive.

“Is this intended for the naturists?” one follower said.

“We welcome all at the ARC, but you do need to wear appropriate swim wear,” the administrator replied.

“This is not cool, sexual innuendoes at a place where kids play,” another follower said.

City of Cockburn governance and community services director Don Green said the campaign developed by the centre’s management team was put together after it identified a need to encourage patrons to apply sunscreen.

“Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Australia, with men in WA having a one in 23 chance of being diagnosed, and women a one in 33,” he said.

“Yet still people do not apply sunscreen despite the risks and sadly we see this habit regularly at the ARC.

“But getting the message across is difficult.

“People are bombarded daily with signage, advertising and communications and it is a marketing challenge to convey important messages that cut through all this ‘banner blindness’.

“If we could get someone walking outside on the 50m pool to stop, read, hopefully smile and then think, it would be worthwhile.

“Many people who are part of the Cockburn community have also at some stage had to explain and also defend pronunciation of the suburb, and because of this, we hoped people would smile and understand what we were trying to achieve.

“The team saw a unique opportunity to leverage off our suburb’s name and felt it would have particular relevance to our local community, which has great love of the outdoors.”

Cancer Council WA SunSmart manager Mark Strickland said while some may have found the campaign offensive, what was more offensive was the thousands of deaths and millions of dollars needed to treat people with skin cancer each year.

“I sympathise with the creators of the campaign who were struggling to find a message that would cut through and get noticed,” he said.

“City of Cockburn have achieved that goal I’d say.

“Skin cancer is not taken seriously by many sectors of the community and finding the right message is a problem SunSmart wrestles with every year.”

MORE: Kim Beazley to be sworn in as WA’s new Governor today

MORE: Cutie Hooties FIFO dolls providing comfort to kids whose parents work away

MORE: Perth Fringe World: event company JumpClimb to fold, owing artists $200k