LOS ANGELES: Movember, a nonprofit dedicated to men's health, is closing out its annual campaign with a series of galas around the US.
The events, which kick off November 30, will take place in 12 cities, including Atlanta, New York, and San Francisco.
The group is holding the galas to recognize the men who grew mustaches as part of the Movember campaign, as well as the women who supported the effort. Partygoers will be able to compete in a number of categories, including “Best Mo in Character,” “Miss Movember,” and “Man of Movember 2012.” Winners will be eligible for a range of gift cards.
The campaign began at the beginning of this month. It encourages men to register on the organization's website and begin to grow mustaches, with the participants raising money by signing up sponsors. Funds go to prostate and testicular cancer initiatives.
Movember is working with Edelman. In 2011, the agency's Los Angeles office participated in Movember as an internal philanthropic initiative. This year, Edelman officially became Movember's AOR.
Since its 2003 launch, the campaign has encouraged men to have conversations with each other about health, which they may not otherwise have.
“We have literally seen thousands of guys talk about how their experience of growing out a moustache has caused conversations with their dads or uncles about health,” said Jason Hincks, Movember's COO.
A million people are supporting the 2012 edition of the campaign, up from 854,000 last year who raised $126.3 million.
One corporate partner is Gillette, which launched the “eMO'gency Styler Tour” that stopped in Houston on Tuesday. It includes barbers that provide complimentary curbside styling and facial hair fine-tuning services for men's moustaches. Ketchum is helping Gillette promote the tour, as well as the social media effort.
Gillette is also encouraging men to visit its Facebook page and post time-lapse photos of their moustache growth.
For every time-lapse photo uploaded to Facebook or Twitter during November, Gillette has donated $1 to Movember and the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
It is the first time the company has mobilized its online community to support the Movember campaign, said Susan Baba, US communications manager for blades and razors for Gillette and Braun.
“One reason it was important for Gillette to get involved is that we are one of the largest male grooming brands, and anything that is important to men is important to us,” she said. Baba added that she hopes the effort will empower men to be more proactive in getting medical checkups.
In addition to providing PR support, more than 240 Edelman employees have raised close to $20,000 for the cause as of November 19, according to Movember. A representative from the firm couldn't be immediately reached for comment.
Chad Grossman, an assistant account executive at Edelman, first brought Movember to the attention of the firm to be part of its “Living in Color” program. The company had supported female cancer advocacy efforts in the past, but not for men.
"We wanted to bring attention to something from men's side of things, because health is not the biggest conversation starter for men," he said.
Since becoming the nonprofit's AOR, Edelman's challenge was to raise awareness for the effort in the US. In other markets like Australia and Canada, consumer knowledge of the initiative was about 80%, while it was below 50% in the US.
"It was really fertile ground to get [greater] awareness of the effort and get it to where it was in other markets,” said Steve Mallory, director of ideation for the western region of Edelman.