A brief history of Play Safe - Play Safe
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First launched in 2009, Play Safe delivers safe sex and STI prevention messaging to young people aged 15-29 across NSW, primarily through digital channels. Over the last 14 years, the Play Safe brand has undergone a number of changes in order to remain relevant and effectively engage the target audience.   


The very beginning

The very first ‘Play Safe’ campaign, ‘Get Tested, Play Safe’,  was launched in 2009 and was designed to encourage young people to get tested for sexually transmissible infections (STIs). The campaign consisted of a television ad and a significant out of home media strategy, with a big emphasis on public bathroom advertising.



Play Safe is launched!

The Play Safe health promotion program, as it’s known today, first launched as part of Youth Week in April 2014.



The Play Safe website

The first Play Safe website went live in 2014 and focus on providing young people with information about common STIs, condoms, and STI testing. 



Introducing Nurse Nettie!

The Nurse Nettie service, which is still operational today, first launched in 2014 on the Play Safe website. The service provides free sexual health advice to young people across the state via the NSW Sexual Health Info Link (SHIL) team.



Live Nation partnership

Play Safe partners with music and entertainment leader, Live Nation, to engage and educate young people about sexual health, whilst attending Live Nation events throughout 2014. 



Play Safe’s sealed section

The infamous Play Safe ‘zipper’ is launched on the Play Safe website in 2015. Users needed to ‘unzip’ the zipper before they could access the Play Safe website. 



The Play Safe Forum

The Play Safe Sex and Relationships Forum was first published on the Play Safe website in 2016. The forum gave young people the opportunity to engage with their peers and sexual health experts online in a safe and anonymous way. 



Down to Test

The Down to Test program ran from 2017-2020, provided young people attending various outdoor music festivals across NSW with access to free STI testing at festival ‘V.I.PEE’ zones. Over 10,000 people were tested over 15 festivals and a whopping 150,000 condoms were distributed over the course of three years. The program was an instant crowd-favourite and attracted a significant amount of media coverage as a result.



Play Safe’s first rebrand

Play Safe’s first major rebrand in 2018 saw the move away from animated characters to stock imagery that featured young people. 



Play Safe brand wins design awards

The 2018 Play Safe rebrand wins three design awards! 

Sydney Design Awards, Gold Winner
NSW Health, Play Safe

Good Design Awards®, Winner
NSW Health, Play Safe 

Indigo Awards, Silver Winner
NSW Health, Play Safe 



The new, and improved Play Safe!

Here are some of the key activities that we did as part of the 2023 Play Safe rebrand project. 

  • Reviewed website user behaviour and engagement data 
  • Identified brand values to inform the new look and feel 
  • Set clear objectives around what we wanted to rebrand to achieve 
  • Consulted our target audience 
  • Engaged a creative brand agency for support 
  • Defined the scope of work and established our priorities 
  • Developed a brand concept 
  • Carried out brand concept focus testing with target audience 
  • Drafted a rebrand project plan, implementation strategy and evaluation framework 
  • Completed all actions identified in the rebrand project plan 
  • Ran website user testing sessions with target audience  
  • Executed the rebrand implementation strategy 
  • Soft-launched the new brand on the Play Safe website and Instagram  

As addition to this, we: 

  • Put together an image library that reflected the new brand  
  • Developed brand guidelines and a tone of voice guide 
  • Revised the Play Safe content strategy 
  • Updated the look and feel of the website  
  • Refreshed all branded communication materials (templates, channels, resources etc.) 
  • Archived dated functionality on the website (e.g. forum) 
  • Reviewed all digital tracking integrations (Google Analytics, Hot Jar etc.) 
  • Conducted a three-month post-launch evaluation 
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