Breakthrough Patient Recruitment

: Movember Proves to be Epitome of Successful Health Communications Campaign

Movember Proves to be Epitome of Successful Health Communications Campaign

Managing Editor

It's that time of year when men all over the world decide that they would look really good with a moustache. Yes, it's Movember, and even if you hate the fact that the man in your life is sporting a moustache take heart in knowing that it truly is for a good cause.

The Movember campaign is sponsored by the Movember Foundation, which "is the leading global organization committed to changing the face of men's health." The campaign began in 2003 in Australia to raise awareness of prostate and testicular cancers, and the foundation now runs official campaigns every November in 21 countries. 

In case you're unaware, here's the skinny on Movember. For the month of November, participants shave their facial hair at the start of the month and then "donate their face" until November 30. Participants register on the Movember Foundation website. During the month, those who are participating in the campaign "become walking, talking billboards," and help start important discussions about men's health. Often taking a back seat to other causes, men's health rises to the forefront during November, but it's important that awareness and education is year-round. According to the National Cancer Institute, prostate cancer is one of the most common cancer types in the United States, with an estimated 233,000 new cases this year, which accounts for 14 percent of all new cases of cancer. The need for men's health campaigns is clear.

But does Movember work?

According to the foundation's website, the answer is a resounding "yes."  The Movember community has raised $559 million to date and funded more than 800 programs. But more than that, the campaign does truly seem to be raising awareness of men's health issues that are not discussed as openly or as often as other issues, such as breast cancer.

The key to Movember's success lies in the power of social interaction (both actual in-person social interactions and, of course, social media). One of the rules of Movember is that if someone asks you why you are growing a moustache, you tell them that it's to raise awareness of men's health issues. There, you're done! Mission accomplished. You've raised even a small amount of awareness for that person, who will then hopefully share that information or engage in a conversation with someone else.

The beauty of the campaign is that it is easy enough to participate and it's inexpensive to run. Like many campaigns in today's environment of overstimulation, success is dependent on being able to break through all the noise that's already out there. To accomplish that task, your campaign needs people-people who can help make your message go viral.

The Movember campaign has viral followings on several social media platforms, including YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and an engaging community on its website. The key to creating a viral campaign is to not aim to make your campaign go viral. A campaign's likelihood of going viral remains unpredictable, but if you're looking for some inspiration, the Movember Foundation is a good place to start. 

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The Healthy(ist) blog is a platform to share, learn about, and debate topics related to public and social health, scientific research, health communications, and behavior change.
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