This week began the annual monthlong celebration of moustaches, raising of funds, and high-profile promotion of men’s health – also known as Movember.
Founded in 2003 by JC Coghlin, Movember is a global community of “Mo Bros and Mo Sisters” making a difference in mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer. Coghlin was recognised this week as one of the 13 most influential men in Men’s Health globally by Men’s Health magazine.
In paying tribute, the magazine described the genesis of Movember: “Like many of the best ideas, the concept for Movember was dreamed up in a pub. Inspired by the work they had seen women doing to raise funds for breast cancer, Travis Garone and Luke Slattery felt that men should be taking similar action on behalf of their own well-being. So, they challenged 30 of their mates to grow a (sponsored) moustache. The following year, they registered as a company and gave Justin “JC” Coghlan a role as campaign manager. Their first big campaign was titled Give Prostate Cancer a Kick in the Arse. “We were young men,” says JC. “We got hit hard by the media at the start. We had straight-laced cancer organisations saying, ‘Cancer’s not fun.’ We knew that. But to cut through the stigma, we had to get men having fun together.” The risk paid off – generously. Today, Movember has raised more than £598m for men’s health causes.”
This month will see thousands of men growing moustaches in support of men’s health.
What is Movember’s mission in supporting men with prostate cancer, and how is it going about this?
Its aim is to halve the number of men dying from prostate cancer, and halve the number of men facing serious ongoing side effects from treatment by 2030. It’s doing this through innovation and collaboration. According to its website, “We think differently. We back fresh and promising ideas. We unite researchers and experts across the world to chase down breakthroughs in prostate cancer, from early detection through to diagnosis, treatment and support. And we’re always steered by the question: what works for men? It’s not just about a cure – it’s about quality of life.”
Movember supports a nine-point “plan of attack” which includes specific clinical programmes, informational campaigns and global initiatives. A full list of prostate cancer projects can be seen here.
Has Movember had an impact? According to Natasha Hill, director of brand and strategic marketing at Cancer Research UK, it has: “I really admire Movember – it is so different and so fresh. They nailed the tone of voice when there was nothing else like it. They found a way to appeal to men in a way that other campaigns just don’t – with banter, and a sort of blokey jokiness.”
This is no small feat since men are generally reluctant to go to their GP and have been known to boast about how long it has been since they last saw a doctor.
Independent research found that Movember has had an impact. More men are talking about health issues specific to them, getting general check-ups and becoming more aware of the health risks they face.”
Are you or have you been involved with Movember? If so, we’d like to hear about it, and promote you and your initiative on our social platforms. We might even donate if you give us a convincing pitch.