Have you heard of Movember? In 1999, Adam Garone and a few of his ‘mates were enjoying a few pints at a pub in Adelaide, Australia when the topic of men’s health and prostate cancer came up. They came up with a great, simple idea to raise awareness about the issue: encourage men to grow moustaches each year for a whole month.
Movember’s rules are as follows:
- On “Shadowe’en” (October 31), the complete moustache region, including the entire upper lip and handlebar zones, must be completely shaved.
- For the entire duration of Movember [November 1-30], no hair shall be allowed to grow in the goatee zone (any facial area below the bottom lip).
- There is to be no joining of the moustache to sideburns.
Since its inception, more than $174 million USD has been raised for men’s health programs by 1.1 Million participants around the world. Australia and Canada are the two nations that have thus far been most engaged in the movement.
Movember stands out from the crowd as a highly-focused health awareness and fundraising initiative that targets men — an audience that has traditionally been more reluctant to discuss gender-specific health issues.
From a digital perspective, the Movember Foundation has been highly effective at creating tools and word of mouth that have enabled a strong online community of participants to spread the word and raise funds across social media channels. Sysomos, the developers of social media monitoring tools, recently blogged about the impact of last year’s Movember campaign across social channels. In November 2010, there were 12,117 blog posts, 2,721 online news articles, 13,353 forum posts, and 322,136 tweets about the campaign.
Movember founder Adam Garone recently spoke about the movement at the TEDxToronto event I helped organize. The introduction video that was shown before his talk is embedded below.