During Movember (the month formerly known as November) each year, men around the globe grow mustaches for men's health issues. With their new mustaches, these guys raise awareness and fund prostate and testicular cancer initiatives. Movember uses mustaches to make prostate health an issue that is relevant to popular culture. The initiative is also another example of social media marketing and hybrid word-of-mouth.
Some background: Movember began in Melbourne Australia in 1999 and morphed into an international phenomenon. Participants are called ‘Mo Bros’ and more than a million have participated in the Movember movements all over the word. After they register at www.movember.com, men start Movember 1st with a clean shave. For the rest of the month, these Mo Bros wax and groom their way into sponsorship for their mustache-growing efforts. But this movement is not without rules. From their website:
1. Once registered at Movember.com, each Mo Bro must begin the 1st of Movember with a clean shaven face.
2. For the entire month of Movember each Mo Bro must grow and groom a moustache.
3. There is to be no joining of the mo to your sideburns (that’s considered a beard).
4. There is to be no joining of the handlebars to your chin (that’s considered a goatee).
5. Each Mo Bro must conduct himself like a true country gentleman.
The be-mustached men get their friends and family to pledge money to their Movember cause that will be donated to Prostate Cancer Foundation, LiveStrong and other men's health initiatives. The success of Movember is evident in the numbers. Mo Bros and their supporters have raised $7.5 million in America, internationally, over $174 million.
The Movember movement is an impressive example of how social media can create huge success. Evidence of Movember’s popularity can be found across the board on their networking sites.
- 39,156 likes on the the Movember USA Facebook page
- On Twitter, Movember has 25,849 followers.
- Movember has 1,581 subscribers on YouTube
Movember is a social experience. That’s why it grows so rapidly each year and why it has spread so rapidly between countries. It makes the process of raising money for a good cause fun and interactive. The subject matter of grooming one’s facial hair into a work of art is something men are interested in; for deep-seated anthropological reasons we are not prepared to explore, hair is simply a compelling point of conversation amongst men.
Movember capitalizes on the organic buzz generated by dudes who were are excited to try out the mustache of their dreams (but never before had an excuse for their girlfriend). The popularity of Movember has skyrocketed, translating directly to more money for a good cause. To see the effects of social media buzz, just consider the difference in funds raised between 1999, when Movember began, and 2004, when it hit the social media scene. Movember did not start receiving substantial cash contributions until 2004 with $43,000. In 2010, $80.7 million was raised. The explosive success of Movember’s more recent years is a result of social media buzz that allowed participants to share their experiences with others around the world. At the end of November, Mo Bros have become walking, walking billboards for the Movember cause.
Author: Lane Jones is our Fall Editor & Word-Smith here at Verge Pipe Media. Verge Pipe Media assists public institutions, enterprises and the non-profit sector with Imaginative Inbound Marketing strategies + campaigns. We also have a development team chock full of Marvelous Mobile Migrators, poised to help transition our clients into a mobile + social world with custom software, iOS and Android mobile apps.