This blog begins with two facts:
- Fact: Mustaches have raised over $300 million dollars for prostate cancer research.
- Fact: Having a mustache gives you the strength of a Kodiak Grizzly bear.
With these two facts in mind, Digital Operative embarks on Movember. Movember is a time for men to be men – men with mustaches, men with mustaches working on computers. DO participates in Movember to raise awareness for prostate cancer & revenue for research on this disease. The premise of Movember is:
– First, a participant acquires sponsors for their mustache for the month (all money raised goes to research). To sponsor a DO ‘stache, please click here.
– Next, the participant shaves on November first.
-Finally the participant keeps the mustache growing all month, no matter the obstacle. No matter how many times random strangers remark that you look like the criminal profiled in “America’s Most Wanted”, the mustache stays on.
As part of the awareness effort, I took the time to sit down with JJ Owen, the head of the Grassroots Engagement in the US for the Movember organization, to interview him about the Movember phenomenon. The following is the edited interview between me (A) and JJ (J):
A: Who has a better mustache: Tom Selleck or Wilford Brimley?
J: Oh man, I am actually a big fan of Wilford’s. I think it goes back to his days as the Quaker Oatmeal guy. I think that is why he is going to edge out Tom Selleck. Plus, Tom Selleck is the fan favorite and I like the underdog.
A: How did Movember start?
J: Movember started in 2003 as a joke amongst friends in Australia. In a little suburb of Melbourne, a couple of guys were sitting around chatting and having a beer. They began talking about 80’s fashion and how somehow, even with the cyclical nature of fashion, the mustache had never come back in vogue. They decided to give growing mustaches a shot and have a little fun with it. They called it Movember because “Mo” is slang for mustache in Australia. They got about 30 of their friends to rock the mustache for that first year in 2003. At this point, the mustaches were just for fun. There were no causes associated with it, just a couple of guys wanting to grow mustaches.
This laid the groundwork for Movember as we know. Movember starts with a clean shave on November 1st and participants must grow just a mustache for 30 days – no beards, no goatees. In 2004, this group of friends was looking back on that first year and thought: Our mustaches created a lot of hassle by a of important people in our lives – our bosses would not lay off us for having these mustaches and their wives were guilting them like crazy. The group of friends thought if we are going to get hassled for this – why not make it an awareness campaign? They took a look at what was happening in the women’s health space and saw that there was no equivalent in the men’s space. They were thinking something as manly as Movember should partner with the men’s health movement. They decided to partner with the prostate cancer research and raise awareness. Prostate cancer is basically breast cancer equivalent for men. 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed in their lifetime. With this statistic in mind, 2004 was the first year that Movember evolved into a men’s health organization and a cancer research organization. There were about 250 people that first year and we raised about $40,000. Movember has been growing ever since.
A: How much has been raised since Movember’s inception?
J: Since its inception, Movember has raised over $300 million dollars and had over 1.9 million participants. In last year’s campaign alone, we had over 855,000 participants globally raise $126 million dollars.
A: Why do you think so many newscasters have mustaches?
J: I think maybe the Anchorman phenomenon kicked some things off. The mustache went out of style right around the 80’s with a lot of the newscasters shaving them off. However, they are starting to come back thanks to Movember. We actually have a guy who is an anchor for Bloomberg television – a very straight suited money market analysis guy, his name is Matt Miller and he grew a mustache over the course of a month. His producers were just like “You have got to be kidding me; you can’t go on air like that”. However, Matt stuck to his guns and he actually profiled top business and corporate mustaches over the course of the month. That was really cool.
A: How has the digital space played into the whole Movember movement?
J: It has been huge. I think at the heart of Movember we are incredibly grassroots. To really scale globally, especially as far as getting people to participate, we have really had to rely on our website and social media to disperse our message. We have 15 people that work in the US to reach the 300 million people who live in the country. That is 300 upper lips that could possibly be occupied by a mustache. Getting that word out really depends on word of mouth, social media and getting people to go to our website. I don’t think Movember would be nearly as successful in changing the face of men’s health without the digital space being involved.
A: How does one get involved in Movember?
J: Involvement is pretty simple. Register at movember.com. Start a team or join a team if you like. It is always more fun to rock a mustache with a group of your buddies. Start clean shaven on November 1st and grow just a mustache for 30 days. Share the link to your Mospace. Mospace is your fundraising and communications platform that you get once you sign up on the website. Post the link to Facebook and send out an email with your own Mospace URL – that is how people typically fundraise. Just spread general awareness and spread the conversation. Be sure to talk about men’s health, give another Mo Bro a high five.
Adam Lundquist is DO’s content/SEM/SEO/PPC/Bing expert at large. He was also a ladybug for Halloween.
Connect with Adam on Google+.