Q&A with the Charity Event That’s Rebranding November

Movember, the month formerly known as November, is a moustache growing charity event held during November each year, raising funds and awareness for men’s health in the process. Welt was able to interview Donny Killian, Movember’s US manager, to find out more about the event.

Welt: How did the idea originally come about?

Donny: It started in 2003 in Melbourne, Australia, with a couple of friends talking about ‘80s fashion and how everything cycles back into vogue. They decided then and there that the moustache was the perfect old school fashion that needed a comeback. That November, they got 30 of their friends together to grow a Mo, Aussie slang for moustache, re-naming the month Movember.

The rules were simple: Start the month clean-shaven, and grow a moustache for 30 days. The guys had so much fun, and were shocked by the amount of conversations started by the moustache. They decided to grow the following year, and to do it for a cause. Inspired by the breast cancer and women’s health movement, they chose an under-served disease that affecting 1 in 6 men, prostate cancer.

The following year, 450 Aussies raised $55,000 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia… And that was the beginning of the men’s health movement.

Welt: Currently in the US, $7,091,183 has been raised. What has not proven to be effective in your social media efforts to help raise this number?

Donny: We are thrilled with the amount raised so far this year (nearly $7.2M) and how far we’ve come from last year. In 2010, we had nearly 65,000 registered Mo Bros and Mo Sistas participating and they raised $7.5M ($81M globally, with 450,000 global participants). We are only 18 days into the month and already have 138,000 US participants and close to $51M globally! We are honored to have this overwhelming support.

Our community is a fun, strong and dedicated force – they understand our messaging, believe in the cause and spread awareness in their own unique way. We support our Mo Bros and Mo Sistas throughout their Movember journey by providing the tools and resources for them to have meaningful conversations, educate others and above all have remarkable experiences throughout the month.

Our community is very active on Twitter, Facebook, forums, blogs and, of course, in-person. Our research found that each Movember participant speaks to an average of 61 people about men’s health and our cause during the month.

This year we’ve added more tools to their arsenal, like our first ever Android app (and revamped last year’s iPhone app), which gives participants the power of the Mo in the palm of their hand.

Another first are our three Facebook Apps – Recruit-A-Mo (allowing Mo Bros and Mo Sistas to recruit others to their team or to start their own team), Adopt-A-Mo (support a registered Mo Bro or Mo Sista’s commitment to men’s health by adopting and pledging to nurture their Mo by donating $1 a day for the full month of Movember), Request Adoption (participants can ask for adoption).

Welt: How many people are likely working/volunteering to execute these social media efforts (in the US, if possible)?

Donny: We have a digital strategist who helped create the Movember Facebook apps, but as Movember is a grassroots, word of mouth campaign, it’s our community that pushes the word out to the wider population. For instance, to date the iPhone App has been downloaded by 96,945 people globally.

Welt: How have partnerships/your support helped your digital marketing efforts develop and have wider reach?

Donny: We are so appreciative of our amazing partners, who bring so much to our Movember campaign each year. They bring Movember to their community, growing the movement with new groups and audiences. After we turn over our brand assets to our partners, we work closely to align our messaging, we draw up social media plans and then let them run wild.

We find that partners have the most success (and fun) when they can “own” Movember in a way that makes sense for their company and community. Mo photo contests, creative videos, etc are all ways to engage participants and reach more people. This year we were thrilled that Google Chrome chose to feature Movember in one of their films – so far seen by over 1 million people. Not to mention all the amazing work Break Media has done – their Moustache Rap has been viewed over 40,000 times and their 40 Moustaches in 10 seconds was shared 223 times from our Facebook wall.

Want to read more about Movember? Visit these links:

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