Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Movember: not talking about my generation

Last night I was at the big, noisy, grungey launch of Movember at Camden’s Koko night club. Movember, as I’m sure you will be aware, is the month formerly known as November, now a global campaign for men’s health which revolves around growing moustaches.
I came away clutching my goodie bag (Mo razor, Mo HP sauce, Mo wristband, Mo plectrum, Mo badges... you get the idea), ears ringing and mind full of the slogans flashed at me on posters, on screens and in speeches from Movember’s founders. I must have been the oldest person there and it is clear that at 53 I do not belong to Generation Mo. Which is odd, since 6 in 10 cases of prostate cancer are found in men over 65. But it may also explain why I left feeling less than euphoric.
Here are this year’s Movember campaign slogans, portrayed in stark black and white, alongside pictures of snakes and wolves:
  • If you don’t like our moustaches, we don’t like your laws
  • Give respect, get respect
  • We are generation moustache
  • Gen Mo
  • Swift silent hairy
  • 13

The words are macho, like the launch: confrontational, even aggressive. I don’t know what they mean, but they are not meant for me. They have been chosen to create a sense of unity, mission, rebellion among the 20-30 year olds that Movember sees as key fundraisers.  
Adam Garone, Movember’s CEO and co-founder (who was at the launch with fellow co-founder JC aka Justin Coghlan) told Marketing Week yesterday that the new branding was “to target a new generation of fundraisers and drive positive change.” He said that “fun is the trojan horse to get guys engaged”. How, exactly, all the marketing drives “positive change” as opposed to fundraising is still a mystery, however.
A report from Precise Brand Insight analysing Movember’s social media reactions in 2012 concluded: “While more and more people are clearly aware of and excited by Movember, the original aim of the movement seems at risk of being overtaken by the excitement about growing moustaches.” It found that only 10 per cent of social media mentions about Movember related to raising awareness.
Movember has become an extremely effective, marketing-savvy fundraising machine. Whether it is actually achieving what its founders say is its core objective – “change” – is open to question. 
What do you think? Have a look at the video clip of acolytes taking the Movember pledge at Tuesday’s launch.