Oh, the 70s and 80s -- an era when men sported the mustaches of all mustaches. They weren’t raising awareness for anything -- they were just going with a fashion trend. In fact, facial hair hasn't been just a fad of the past decades. For hundreds of years, facial hair was considered a symbol of power, strength, and wealth.
But that all changed when 30 men in a pub in Melbourne, Australia, leveraged the power of sporting a mustache and started a campaign. Its purpose? A noble one: to raise awareness for prostate cancer during the month of November, which eventually sparked a movement now known around the world as Movember.
Over the last nine years, the global organization called the Movember Foundation has raised $446 million dollars for prostate cancer awareness and research programs. Starting this year, it'll raise testicular cancer awareness in partnership with the Livestrong Foundation and the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
Since 2003, the movement has been powered by the masses, with over 3 million registered "Mo Bros" and "Mo Sistas" who have pledged to grow mustaches or support the men that do and, most importantly, fundraise online for Movember during the month of November.
Just last year, the organization raised $147 million with 1.1 million registered fundraisers worldwide (that's a lot of mustaches!).
What's the Secret to Movember's Success?
The growth and success of the Movember movement hasn't happened overnight, but the Foundation behind the month has driven amazing results through a large network of partners, companies, schools, and individuals, fulfilling its vision of "having an everlasting impact on the face of men's health."
But there are some specifics to highlight that have contributed to the Foundation's success as an organization and a global movement.
It appeals to everyone.
There hasn't been a global movement for a men's health issue much like there is for breast cancer awareness. Movember is truly the first global movement around men's health issues, including prostate and testicular cancer awareness and education.
These issues are relevant to all men, given that a new case of prostate cancer diagnosed every 2.2 minutes and every man will be affected by the disease, whether they're diagnosed themselves or someone they know is diagnosed.
Movember has literally changed the face of men's health by having their supporters wear the awareness on their face for an entire month. What other movement has brought that much attention to men's health ever? And embracing women as part of the movement as "Mo Sistas," who are deemed supporters of the mustache and men's health advocates, only expands its reach even further.
The Foundation's clever "Mo Grower Permission Slip" plays up the concept of a permission slip a guy may give his significant other to go out with his friends for the night. This is just one fun way Movember has gotten women involved in the movement.
It rebrands itself every year.
Changing the branding of Movember every year spices up the campaign and allows for something new to look forward to.
For instance, this year, Movember is building a "Generation Mo" and rebranded itself to target younger generations. The organization is looking to build an entire generation of health-conscious men and women, and giving them a name does just that.
"Generation Mo" provides a sense of community and belonging to those participating in the Movember movement and really draws in those that are not a part of it yet to learn more.
It embraces humor.
When was the last time you kept a straight face when looking at someone with a mustache? That's what I thought. Using humor in its videos, images, and marketing materials adds a welcoming nature to the cause.
The Foundation isn't trying to guilt you into donating or fundraising, but it's also not making light of the issues they are supporting.
Movember is simply making it fun to fundraise and raise awareness for a good cause, with resources like how to groom and maintain your mustache, also known as "Mustachery," a Mustache Hall of Fame, and a mustache style guide with nine different ways to grow your stache.
It uses narcissism to its advantage.
Part of the fun of fundraising for Movember is show everyone the progress of your mustache growing throughout the month.
Movember makes it okay to take selfies and post them on social media for an entire month. When you have a million men taking pictures of their mustaches (and don't forget all the women with their fake staches), it's going to draw some attention from friends on social media.
With images being posted and shared on Facebook and Twitter, millions of people continue to be exposed to the movement, thus spreading awareness more and more each day.
It leverages technology.
The Movember movement would not be as successful as it has been these last nine years without technology. Developing an online community that requires every fundraiser to register themselves and their teammates to be able to fundraise online brings people from around the world together for a common cause.
With the updated version of the Movember mobile app available as well, individuals are able to take and ask for donations anywhere, update their profile with a new picture of their growing mustache, and see how their fundraising efforts are stacking up against other teams and countries.
It sets Mo Bros and Sistas up for success.
Movember provides a wide array of resources for its fundraisers once they register online, including:
- An iPhone and Android mobile app
- Personalized donation cards, posters and certificate of participation
- Tips for being a successful fundraiser
- Facebook timeline covers
- Thank you posters
- A Movember rule book
- An event guide to throwing your own "Shave the Date" party
- Logos and moustache icons
- Backgrounds for all of your mobile devices
It attracts celebrities and popular men's brands.
Athletes, actors, and musicians have all gotten behind Movember, as well as some big brands like Gillette, TOMS, and Foster's Beer. For example, Foster's dedicated its Facebook page to Movember and even customized its logo to sport a mustache.
The brands' audiences are aligned with the target audience of the Movember movement, so the support makes perfect sense. Gillette and TOMS have both customized their homepages in support, spreading awareness even further to their audiences.
How You Can Market Your Mustache
If you've joined the movement and are going to be growing your stylish mustache this November (may we recommend a handlebar?), there are some clever ways to market your stache and gain support from your networks to raise money and awareness for a great cause.
Register as a Mo.
To access all the resources Movember provides for it's fundraisers, you can register as a individual fundraiser or get a group of people together to fundraise as a team on us.movember.com.
By joining the community, you're committing to growing a mustache for the month of November and fundraising (or if you're a woman, supporting the men in your life by fundraising and spreading awareness).
Dedicate your Facebook account.
Let everyone in your Facebook network know you're growing a mustache for Movember by changing your cover photo. When you sign up, you can generate one with your fundraising page URL so your friends know where to donate.
Use the Movember mobile app to share pictures of your growing stache daily.
Keeping your social networks up-to-date on the progress of your mustache is easy with the Movember mobile app. Simply snap a picture everyday during the month and share it on Facebook and Twitter.
This will keep your campaign top of mind with your friends and they're eventually be so impressed with your hair growing ability, they'll have to give. You can even see how your country stacks up against the world with the Movember leaderboard.
Host a “Shave the Date” kickoff party.
Across the country, men are hosting "Shave the Date" parties, where everyone who is participating in Movember shaves their faces and start the growing process. This is a great place to kick off your fundraising campaign as well, as you can ask for donations in person.
It also gives your friends, family, and even colleagues be a part of the movement if they're not participating in Movember themselves. You can find a Mo-rated barbershop to have you kickoff party at with your Movember team.
Make a video and ask your friends to donate and grow their own mustache.
A simple way to kickoff your campaign is to make a video of why you're participating in Movember and make the ask to either join your team, or donate to your fundraising page.
Use your phone or computer camera to make a simple video and share it on all your social channels. You can even include it in your first email ask for donations.
Videos and photos are much more likely to be shared on social media and spread throughout your networks. You can create one or two videos during your campaign to share a virtual update on your Movember progress.
Now that you know how to capitalize on this unique fundraising opportunity, join Generation Mo and get growing!
Share your Movember stories with us in the comments below!
Originally published Nov 1, 2013 11:00:00 AM, updated June 10 2021