Business Development and Communications


The Business Development and Communications (BDC) portfolio is responsible for corporate and commercial partnerships, national marketing and communications, brand custodianship, media and public relations, licensing and merchandise.

The BDC team are responsible for positioning the future sustainability of the Surf Life Saving movement, driving growth across our platforms, facilitating meaningful community and corporate engagement, and driving government relations to ensure Surf Life Saving remains a relevant and growing movement.


Surf Life Saving Australia develops partnerships that deliver strategic alignment and create a shared value to the Australian community. A partnership with SLSA reaches all corners of the community, allowing a business to position itself alongside one of Australia’s most trusted and iconic community organisations.

Our partnerships not only provide vital funds for our organisation, but also share core values that enable us to leverage opportunities to benefit both parties in an authentic way.  The associations we form with our corporate partners work to enhance the profile of both organisations.

The relationship between our major long-term partners DHL and Westpac are examples of SLSA’s commitment to the longevity and growth of our corporate connection. We are proud to enter into the 43rd year of our partnership with Westpac, one of the longest standing corporate partnerships in Australia.

Westpac, who celebrate their 200th Birthday in 2017, are naming rights sponsor of the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service, the oldest civilian search and rescue service in Australia.  We are equally proud to be in our 14th year of bringing to life the shared values of speed, passion and a can-do attitude with DHL.

Our partner BRP, continues to provide funding and rescue powercraft for affiliated clubs and services across the country. As the official powercraft supplier, BRP products are powerful lifesaving tools and enable lifesavers to move around the beach and water quickly ensuring they are rescue ready and that performing rescues can be performed with greater efficiency.

SLSA is extremely proud of our partnership portfolio and recognise the valuable contribution they make to the organisation.

We continue to actively seek new major partners to support the movement and the vital services that we provide to the Australian community in 2017.


SLSA’s media and public relations (PR) activities continue to position the organisation as Australia’s peak coastal water safety, drowning prevention and rescue authority. Our work over 2016-17 has been instrumental in driving public and government awareness of the great work our volunteer members and our movement provide to the community.

SLSA continues to evolve its digital communications strategy to adapt with the changing consumption patterns of our members and the community. 2016/2017 saw a significant increase in our social media presence while maintaining regular direct communications through our traditional channels.

In October, SLSA successfully launched a new public awareness campaign the ‘Facts About Rips’, securing a live weather cross on Sunrise and extensive media support achieved across all mainstream media outlets.

The 2016 National Coastal Safety Report was launched to members of the press by The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, MP Prime Minister of Australia in December 2016, driving a dialogue toward coastal safety and drowning prevention across our beaches and sharing vital research findings.

The communication strategy for Year 3 of the national fundraising initiative Be a Life Saver’ focused on critical advocacy of our role as a charitable organisation in Australian society. Post campaign research found a continued increase in our brand health and unprompted awareness

Government relations were supported through the quarterly Parliamentary Friends of Surf Life Saving updates, co-chaired by Federal Members, Sarah Henderson MP and the Hon. Matt Thistlethwaite MP and attended by members of parliament. These updates highlight the incredible contributions of our volunteers with presentations of the National Rescue of the Month awards, and act to facilitate a platform for SLSA to communicate updates on funding delivery and promote the work of our movement to parliamentary stakeholders.


Surf Life Saving is one of Australia’s most iconic and loved brands.  The marketing and communications department is responsible for brand custodianship, above the line and owned platform communications continuing to promote SLSA and our key messaging to our members and the general public.

As a deliverable of SLSA’s business plan and the strategic intent to save lives, a five-year public safety awareness campaign the ‘Facts about Rips’ was launched in October 2016.

Aimed at fit young males between the ages of 15-39 years, the campaign aims to raise awareness, change mindsets and behaviour when it comes to identifying and escaping rips, with the aim to increase the likelihood of people swimming at patrolled beaches, between the red and yellow flags.

The campaign was delivered through TV, radio, outdoor, digital, press and cinema over a six-week period and delivered $2.5 million in advertising value. Post campaign research has revealed that 85% who saw the campaign are more likely to swim between the red and yellow flags and 2 in 3 would be more likely to seek advice before swimming.

Lifesavers with their hands in the air

We continued to promote Surf Life Saving as a community organisation in need. This year, we delivered on year three of the Be a Life Saver campaign goals. Our focus was on increasing and converting new donors to regular longer-term supporters.

Launched on the first day of summer, the campaign ran across digital, social media, TV, outdoor and mobile. A key highlight was the media first interactive outdoor panel activation, installed at the major Bondi Beach bus stop. Post campaign research showed an increase in overall propensity to donate and a large increase in willingness to commit to regular donations.

Our Marketing and Communications team continued to promote opportunities for the Australian community and our members to actively participate in Surf Life Saving, including the Coates Hire Coolangatta Gold (471 competitors) the Aussie Ocean Swim (175 competitors) the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships which brought 6,806 competitors to the Gold Coast and the Nutri-Grain IronMan and IronWoman Finals Series.

Earlier this year, SBS Media set out a challenge (SBS Media Diversity Works Challenge) to encourage the Australian advertising industry to think about diversity and to reflect the real Australia in their marketing campaigns. In return, the winning campaign will receive a prize of $1 million in advertising space across SBS TV and digital assets.

Advertising agency KWP! responded to the challenge and developed a campaign pitch for Surf Life Saving that showcases the diversity of Surf Life Saving as an organisation, as well as the many Australians who enjoy the beach. The creative draws attention to the indiscriminate nature of the ocean regardless of colour, background, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or cultural differences, and promotes SLS as equally indiscriminate and all inclusive. The call to action is simple:  Join.

In May, we were excited to be awarded the winner of the challenge with our television commercial scheduled to commence from September 2017 to February 2018.

Communications with our members are a key focus of the team and were maintained through the monthly eNewsletter Surfline, members portal, On Patrol, and our social channels Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. This ensures that our members are engaged, are recognised and celebrated for their contributions, and to assist us in achieving our vision of zero preventable deaths in Australian waters


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Surf Life Saving’s intellectual property (IP) has been built up over a 110-year foundation of service to the Australian community. SLSA owns various registered trademarks, which licensing and merchandise manages on behalf of the entire organisation including: the SLS logos, red and yellow patrol flags, patrol caps, the iconic red and yellow patrol uniform, and terms such as ‘Surf Rescue,’ ‘Surf Patrol’ and ‘Nipper’.   It is our responsibility to ensure that the use of our brand is protected.

Surf Life Saving uses these images and marks in a number of places and in many important ways, including on our patrol uniforms and equipment to designate official surf lifesavers and property, and on licensed product.

Licensed application of these marks on retail merchandise assists in generating revenue for the organisation through royalty payments.

In the past 12 months, SLSA has signed new licenses across children’s publishing, calendars, towels and sporting goods to further increase our royalty revenue stream. These complement the established licensed merchandise programme which includes sunscreen, eyewear, and headwear.

SLSA collaborated with Samsung in the development of an international award winning virtual reality beach safety app, Pocket Patrol, which was successfully beta trialled in 2017 and continues to be developed into 2018.

Additional product categories continue to be investigated for the coming patrol season.

Surf Life Saving Sunscreen

Fiona Crockett
General Manager, Business Development and Communications


Surf Life Saving Australia thanks our corporate and government partners who have supported us in 2016–17.






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SLSA Operations – Business Development & Communications