I have spent the last 4 weeks in Australia and have been blown away by how widespread, well known and well loved the ‘Movember‘ is across the country. Movember has become a much anticipated event in the nation’s calendar and credit must go to the creative founders behind this fantastic initiative. I am amazed that Movember is not an international phenomena, currently only 6 countries have Movember events!
Founded in 1999, the Movember campaign encourages men not to shave for the whole month of November in order to grow a ‘Mo’ (moustache) and help raise awareness of men’s health issues.
At a time when male engagement in health issues is incredibly low and male denial and avoidance of health problems is common place, this idea should be showcased and exported. I really believe this is one of, if not the best charity/fund raising/public awareness marketing initiatives I have ever seen.
The concept is simple but brilliant. A group of lads in Adelaide started growing moustaches to raise money for charity. When a the local news picked up the story the idea went national with blokes spontaneously joining the cause all over Australia. The following rules were formalised to guide the practice of Movember every year:
1. On Shadowe’en (October 31st), the complete moustache region, including the entire upper lip and the handlebar zones, must be completely shaved.
2. For the entire duration of Movember (Movember 1st – 30th inclusive), no hair shall be allowed to grow in the goatee zone – being any facial area below the bottom lip.
3. There is to be no joining of the moustache to sideburns.
The campaign works so well by connecting seamlessly with the Aussie male psyche. Growing a moustache is an inherently manly, competitive, fun exercise and an opportunity to proudly boast not only your masculinity but your humility by supporting a good cause. Movember immediately took off in offices, sports clubs pubs and even among celebrities – what better way to foster a brotherhood and engage men in the risks of prostate disease, testicular cancer and depression.
Movember has benefited from some incredible celebrity endorsements and participants, there are ‘Mo-Bro’ and ‘Best Mo’ competitions held at every sports event in November and in 2009 the entire Australian rugby team sported Mos in their Autumn test series.
The best marketing campaigns evoke emotion, conversation and keep people entertained. For 30 days, Movember provides a daily watercooler joke about Hairy Bob’s developing handlebars or young Jonny’s wispy top lip catapillar – the banter is infectious and if your a man in Australia in November without a moustache you feel a strange sort of isolation – like you’re not in the cool club, not part of the gang. Outside of sport, can you think of any other marketing campaign that has ever engaged 18-45 men change so well?
Massive congras to the Movember team for a brilliant idea, for championing an important cause and for raising over AUD $60m! I will definitely try to grow one next year… might need two MO-nths!