Have you noticed an increase in the amount of hairy upper lips in your office/on public transport/behind the counter of your local latte-serving establishment recently? Well, unless you live in Shoreditch or Chorlton, it’s probably down to Movember.
As a female of the speices, all this increase in upper-lip activity got me thinking about the difference between charities targeted at men and charities targeted at women. With Tickled Pink campaigns, the breast cancer message remains clear and at the forefront of people’s minds. But how many people know what Movember really all about? A quick straw poll I did in the office showed that, while most of us know it’s for a ‘male type cancer’, others thought it was just a fun yearly activity and weren’t aware of the reasons behind it. Some did know that Movember is in fact all about prostate cancer – raising awareness and money.
Looking at some of the brands that have jumped on the Movember bandwagon, there’s not always a great deal of information to tell us what the campaign’s all about. Have a gander at HP Sauce on Facebook for example. They’re offering to top up the funds of those who are growing ‘taches and raising money for the cause, certainly a noble gesture, but in terms of raising awareness for what it’s all about, well I struggled to find any mention of prostates at all. (Not a sentence I often have to type.)
Maybe it doesn’t matter. As long as those who are growing the ‘taches are spreading awareness through word-of-mouth and raising funds, perhaps that’s enough. And there’s a genius behind the way in which this campaign is designed to appeal to men specifically.
For a start, it’s an easy way to get involved. Women are traditionally seen as being more open to fundraising and donating (although in the interests of fairness I have to say I know just as many charitable blokes as I do women) but growing a bit of facial hair is, unless you’re Justin Bieber, a pretty easy way to do something chartiable. Much easier than, say, walking a up a mountain or running a marathon – is it this ease with which any bloke can get involved that makes Movember so popular?
Then there’s the look-at-me element. Sporting an ever-expanding bit of fluff on the face is such a visible act of charity that for a whole month your friends, family and co-workers can’t fail to see that you’re a generous and giving type.
Appealing to the ego and making it super-easy to get involved are clearly the elements that give this campaign its huge mass appeal, but is it this mass appeal that has diluted the messaging behind the campaign?
Are brands and individuals jumping on the bandwagon for the right reasons? Does it even matter if at the end of it one more person gets checked out and one more tenner gets donated? I’m not sure, but I do feel that the message is getting lost among the hair and the excitement a little bit and that clearer messaging could be helpful.
What do you think?
image credit: urgensia.com