Para gold medallist Cameron Leslie safety campaign for Sanford
Paralympian Cameron Leslie is a triple gold medallist in Para swimming, Wheel Blacks player, coach, farmer, sports writer and influential community role model. So, when Sanford, New Zealand’s largest and oldest fishing company, asked Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) to support development of an innovative campaign to help its 1700 staff identify workplace risks: Cameron was the perfect choice.
Born with quadruple limb deficiency, Cameron walks on prosthetics and has adapted arm mobility. Famous for his sense of humour, he stars in the campaign and worked closely with the director on the story. His cheekiness is clear: “the difference with me is, I can put my legs back on. You can’t!”
The campaign was launched internally at Sanford in Auckland last week, beginning with a 90sec film shown theatre-style to over 150 head office staff and factory workers. This will be rolled-out around the country, supported by a series of workplace posters and collateral, plus online information and training. The strategic intention is to communicate Sanford’s key message: ‘think safe, be safe, get home safe’.
Cameron said, “I’m a farmer, so I understand the risks Sanford’s workers face every day. Health and safety campaigns can be quite dull, so I wanted to help Sanford create something that was surprising, entertaining and that captured attention. I really enjoyed working closely with Sanford as we threw around ideas for creation of the video. They realised straight away that a campaign like this can not only help their workers be safe, but also challenge community perceptions and show disability in a really positive way.”
The film begins with Cameron waking up early to tend to his family farm. He gets dressed and puts his legs on, before jumping on his four-wheeler and heading out. He explains his disability via voiceover and the adaptations he has made to be successful in life. The film switches to the Sanford factory, with Cameron meeting workers and seeing first-hand the risks they face, from sharp knives to wet floors. A switch to the boats then follows, looking at the challenges around nets, hooks, and of course, water. Cameron finishes with the key message: “if I had your arms and legs, I’d be trying to hold on to them!” Three key moments from the film have been translated into impactful collateral, also featuring Cameron.
Volker Kuntzsch (CEO, Sanford) said, “This film is a great outcome from our long-standing partnership with Paralympics New Zealand. The Sanford people behind this film are all able-bodied and we realised early on that we had all sorts of unconscious ideas about how a disabled person should be presented. Cameron challenged us continually and I must thank him, because we now think very differently. I was excited to see the reaction from the Sanford team when we released the film. Not only did they pay very close attention to the health and safety messages being delivered, they all love Cameron.”
He continues, “Sanford is committed to the health and safety of our workers around the country and we believe that safety is everyone’s job. We really want all our staff to remember to think safe, be safe and get home safe everyday.”
Fiona Allan (Chief Executive, Paralympics New Zealand) said: “This is an outstanding film from our community partner, Sanford. Paralympians and Para athletes are powerful role models and it is great to see Cameron being profiled in this way. PNZ promotes the need for a more diverse and inclusive society and I was proud to be at the launch and witness the positive reaction from the Sanford team.”
Sanford and Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) began working together in mid-2015 and have recently renewed their partnership to 2020. Sanford, together with Cadbury and ACC, won the 2017 Sport & Recreation Commercial Partnerships Award, recognising exceptional work with PNZ during Rio 2016. The release of this health and safety campaign marks a brand new era for this successful partnership.
Cameron Leslie has represented New Zealand in the pool at three Paralympic Games, winning gold and setting a world record at Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016. He is also a senior member of the Wheel Blacks rugby team and regularly travels to international competitions. He contributes to the future of Para sport by coaching a number of junior Para athletes in his role at Parafed Northland. In his spare time, he works with his brother raising beef calves in Whangarei.