Movember is about much more than growing a mustache, it’s also about putting a new face on men’s health issues. When I first heard about No-shave November I didn’t know about the connection to men’s health, so I had no reservations about shaving my mustache for a job interview. But a year later when my new employer sponsored Movember participants I learned all about their fundraising for cancer research and raising awareness for health issues such as prostate and testicular cancer. For a third year I’m participating in Movember, but the history of Movember actually goes back much further and serves as a great case study of using social marketing to promote men’s health.
When Movember started in 2003 it was just a fun idea between two friends in Australia, but it quickly grew into a global phenomenon. Within a couple years their small group of friends expanded to reach thousands in Austalia raising millions of dollars for prostate cancer research, incorporating into the Movember Foundation by 2006. Gaining charity status in the US in 2009 helped the organization grow abroad, but also to attract partners to their cause alongside individual participants. Today Movember has nearly 1 million participants in 14 countries who raised over $100 million last year.
Key to Movember’s success is not just the great cause it supports, but also the global marketing campaign that promotes it. Anyone who visits their website will be impressed by the creative media ; everything from videos starring famous mustachioed celebrities to personals flyers and smartphones apps, used by participants and for supporters of Movember. But perhaps the most important promotional tactic is much more personal- their mustache growing participants:
Mo Bros effectively become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November. Through their actions and words they raise awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health.
Another popular part of Movember is their own social network, MoSpace, which gives each participant their own page to raise funds and interact with supporters. Mo Bros and Mo Sisters use the social network to make updates on their progress and also allows them to share their Movember campaigns on other social networks. The site also serves means to personalize their Movember efforts within their social group, a proven tactic whether to raise funds or awareness within a social marketing campaign.