For some it’s fall, for others it’s spring, but for legions of people around the world, it’s something else entirely: It’s Movember.
For the uninitiated, Movember (a portmanteau bridging the words “moustache” and “November”) is a month-long campaign that raises awareness and money for men’s health issues, including prostate cancer and depression.
The campaign, stipulating that men must grow a patch of whiskers below the nose but that nary a hair shall migrate to the sideburns or below the chin, is so unequivocally masculine, novel and (relatively) painless, that it attracts men (and women) of all stripes and ages.
While Movember’s beginnings were humble – the idea was hatched by a group of Australian pub mates in 1999 – it has since gone global. Last year alone the movement raised $76.8 million, a blowout compared to $54,000 in 2004.
One reason for Movember’s growing success is that the once-decentralized movement has coalesced into a full-fledged foundation and bonafide brand. The campaign is officially organized by the Movember Foundation, which has its own website, Twitter feed, YouTube channel and Facebook page.
Another reason is the number of brands that are getting behind the movement, either as direct sponsors, or indirectly by giving donations.
This cause marketing approach allows both Movember and the brands that support it to gain exposure and attract good vibes. Brands sponsor events and create publicity, and Movember gets mo’ money.
Of course, where would moustaches be without the tools that help us groom them, which explains why Movember’s official sponsors happen to be hygiene products… and beer.
Meanwhile, Speedstick is upping user engagement with a series of videos featuring the misadventures of a clumsy Mo’ man.
From local to global, the number of brands capitalizing on Movember through Facebook and Twitter is surprisingly large, but it makes perfect sense: The platforms let them produce tailored content faster than it takes some guys to grow peach fuzz – and at a much lower cost than billboards and TV spots.
Mercedes, an official sponsor, has taken this route, urging users to ‘like’ it for donations.
Then there’s Mr. Clean, Proctor & Gamble’s famously tonsured mascot. His Facebook profile pic features a decidedly hirsute photo, and with every ‘like’, his ‘stache grows a little thicker.
It’s a win-win-win tactic: raise awareness, establish a brand purpose and increase the popularity of your Facebook page.
And then there’s mobile apps. It turns out people love to digitally impose nose-neighbours on their faces. At least that’s what Ogilvy Group UK’s Picamo suggests.
The £0.69 app lets users (digitally) try on a selection of 30 moustaches and share the results on social networking sites, with profits going to Movember.
Google has also joined in, showcasing the movement in its latest instalment of “The web is what you make of it” video series.
TOMS Shoes, a cause marketing leader, is offering limited edition moustachioed footwear. All proceeds go directly to the cause.
Usually, we don’t associate prostate cancer with humour. But that’s one reason for the campaign’s popularity: No one likes prostate cancer, everyone thinks moustaches are funny.
This lighthearted take and the campaign’s hip(ster?) gloss make it a very attractive charity opportunity for brands.
And while some bigger brands (like PepsiCo) have been participating indirectly with contests for staff members, as the buzz on the fuzz keeps growing, their participation probably will, too.