Marketing the Moustache

Seventies Rebirth | In 2003, Adam Garone sat around with his brothers and friends in Melbourne, Australia chatting about the fashion that marked the disco era. After a few beers the question of the moustache was asked, why had it not caught back on. And with that thought, Garone and friends pledged to turn November in Movember. Along with a couple of friends, Garone grew out his upper lip, much to the distaste of his boss and now ex-girlfriend. Keep in mind, hipsters had to iconize this look. Yet, the stunt led to chatter. Awareness even.

From Face Fuzz to Charity | In 2004, Garone and friends recognized the potential of their Movember campaign to generate real results for a charitable cause. However, after a cold call and a warm coffee with the CEO of Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, he was told to have fun, but seek no sponsorship from the mens health organization. Resiliantly, Garone went ahead anyways and by December of that year 450 new moustaches bloomed and were groomed, while $54,000 was donated to the same charity that had turned them down.

Toronto Success | Last week, I was at the Black Bull Tavern with a mate and spied the most remarkable ensemble of moustaches in the booth across from us. All cultures were represented, from the iconic Chevron, to a rather filthy looking Hulk Hogan. I was impressed as my own attempt to grow a moustache has been a far cry from a success story. Yet, Canada’s Movember scene has been exactly that: a success. Between 2010 and 2011, registered Mo Bros and Mo Sistas more than doubled to over 246,000. The same effect was seen in funds raised, with Canadians donating over 42 million dollars to the cause.

Moustache Marketing | Only in its sixth year in North America, the Movember organization has proven how effective modern marketing can be on brand development. The resounding success of cause marketing allows a supporting corporations to leverage the positive associations of the Movember brand to gain exposure for both entities. This symbiotic relationship is crucial in a charities ability to compete in the non-for-profit segment. Then add social media into the mix, and the Movember brand’s growth is painfully predictable. Joint campaigns were designed with both Proctor & Gamble’s Mr. Clean, who in exchange for Facebook likes grew a thicker and thicker virtual moustache, and Colgate-Palmolive’s Speedstick Mo’ Mishaps, a Youtube campaign featuring a gentleman’s unfortunate shaving misadventures. For businesses, finding a cause that can connect products and consumers can be key to forging a perceptual competitive advantage. Yet, the real winner is the cause that can prove its intentions and symbols have the most lasting emotional impact on potential customers. And last time I checked my Instagram, Movember did just that. ♣

KEY SOURCES: Movember history provided by Mr. Adam Garone himself at TEDxToronto on Nov. 14th, 2011.



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