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Grow a Mustache and Save a Life

It is not an every day occurrence that I hear about a project and think — that’s firkin’ brilliant. But at the Cause Marketing Forum a few weeks ago I was looking over the attendee list to the workshop where I spoke and saw that someone was listed as being from Movember. I thought to myself, “self, this has to be a mistake, it must be November.” I saw the name again and thought to myself, “self, this isn’t a mistake, you have to look it up.” So I did look it up.

Movember is an organization that gets men around the world to grow a mustache during the month of November and to treat this activity as a fundraising event, the same way you would treat a run, walk or ride event for a charity. At the end of the month they have parties where the participants dress up as their favorite mustachiod stars — think Tom Selleck.

Tom Selleck as Magnum PI

I know what you are thinking. That’s fun and cute. Oh, and by the way, they raised $30 million.

That’s no type-o. And they are just getting started. I was so taken with this idea that I called the founder of the organization Adam Garone. Adam is Australian and started Movember with some buddies in 2003, kind of as a joke. A “mo” is short for a mustache in the Australian language, and so November could become Movember. They had 30 friends do it that first year. They got grief from their bosses and girlfriends but they wanted to keep doing it. So they added the charity component and no one can argue with that.

In 2004 they approached the Prostate Cancer Foundation in Australia because the connection to men’s health was obvious and they felt prostate cancer didn’t get the attention that it should get. They raised $55,000 that first year and were the largest single donor to the foundation. They are literally changing the face of men’s health.

The idea has grown rapidly in Australia and they have raised more than $20 million there. They then added New Zealand, and came to the US in 2006. They are just getting started here. This year, they are partnering with both the Lance Armstrong Foundation, for testicular cancer, and they continue their affiliation with the Prostate Cancer Foundation. I expect this organization to reach $100 million annually in a few year.

They are very focused on cause marketing as well with US sponsors including Pepsi Max, Canadian Club, Wahl, Quicksilver, DC Shoes, Warner Bros. and others. The parties they have at the end of the year rock and they give prizes for the best mustaches.

What is particularly brilliant about this concept is that when I start to grow my mustache in November, people are going to say, “What’s that dirt on your face?” or “Have you given up your day job for that porn career?” or “Are the Villiage People recruiting?” I will then have to explain why prostate and testicular cancers are in need of research dollars and more public attention. Talk about viral.

Learn more about Movember and, for you men, plan on joining me in growing that mustache in November for men’s health.

Some famous folks with a mustache that you can dress up as for the Movember party.

Ned Flanders Ron Burgandy Ron Jeremy Monopoly Guy
John Oats Dr. Phil Borat Saddam Hussein
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