VOLUNTARY CAMPAIGN: Movember gets lippy for cancer charity

'Mo' is Aussie slang for moustache and the idea behind charity event Movember is simple - grow a 'mo' in 'Movember' (November) and raise money and awareness of men's health issues, particularly prostate cancer.

'Mo Bros' grew moustaches
'Mo Bros' grew moustaches

Campaign: Movember UK Launch
Client: Movember
PR Team: Iris PR
Timescale: September-December 2007
Budget: Under £50,000

Movember was established in 2003 by a group of friends in Australia who wanted to raise money for prostate cancer charities. In 2007, Movember took the message to the UK, US and Spain as well.

In the UK, Movember teamed up with The Prostate Cancer Charity. Every year in the UK, about 35,000 men are diagnosed with - and about 10,000 men die from - the disease. Cash raised was to be donated to the charity.

To launch Movember, focusing on London. To raise awareness within the target 25- to 40-year-old audience. To recruit 5,000 'Mo Bros' to grow a moustache. To lay the foundations for a larger campaign in 2008. To raise £500,000.

The Movember brand is aimed at an aspirational male and female target audience ('Mo Bros' and 'Mo Sistas'), so the key was to position the 'mo' as social currency.

The campaign kicked off with a launch party aimed at 200 key influencers drawn from media, the City, sports teams, cool brands, the restaurant trade and bar owners. Teams that signed up included people from firms such as Innocent, Google, the Oxo Tower and Emap.

Iris brought in thelondonpaper as a media partner, having identified the London freesheet as a good brand fit with significant reach among 25- to 40-year-olds living in the capital.

Rather than using celebrity ambassadors, Iris focused on media personalities in London to add credibility and help talk up the month of Movember. Working with thelondonaper, it partnered with the three main London radio stations and organised a 'Mo-off' between the popular breakfast show teams from Virgin Radio, Capital FM and XFM.

The presenters were wet-shaved on-air at the start of Movember and gave frequent updates, delivering coverage throughout the month until the winner was announced.

Outside London, Iris worked with national, regional, trade and online media to amplify the core message. The campaign was underpinned with digital activity, providing content and driving interaction on Movember fans' Facebook groups, as well as seeding updates of the charity's MySpace and YouTube sites to maintain interest and keep the ongoing push for sponsorship fresh.

A piece of coverage was secured nearly every day in the month of 'Movember'. More than 100 pieces of editorial were achieved with a total media reach of more than 50 million.

The media coverage had a circulation of more than 50 million and a reach of 70 million.

More than 6,000 men grew moustaches; a total of 1,700 people attended the launch party and the gala celebration and £1m was raised for The Prostate Cancer Charity.

Five major grooming brands have already approached Movember about involvement in this year's campaign.

Matt De Leon, co-founder, Van Communications
Raising the profile of charities is a hard brief at the best of times, but it gets even harder when you're a smaller charity competing for share of voice against the PR machines of 'super charities' such as Sport Relief, Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.

Matt de LeonIf you haven't got an A-list celebrity to centre your campaign around, you need a great vehicle and fantastic exploitation to be heard above the noise.

While the brilliant concept of Movember already existed, it would have been nothing without Iris's fantastic exploitation. The agency developed a well-thought-out campaign that embraced print, digital and broadcast media.

Media partnerships can be risky if the partner doesn't play ball, but not only did Iris secure almost a month's worth of coverage with thelondonpaper, it also achieved editorial in several non-News International titles.

It had great successes online too and my two-minute Google search unearthed a vibrant community of Mo Bros and Sistas on social networks, blogs, web pages and discussion groups.

Although it didn't generate huge amounts of national coverage, securing buy-in from media agencies, sports teams and cool brands was a great trick from a fund-raising and awareness perspective. However, the real masterstroke was instigating the 'Mo-off' between the radio breakfast show teams.

It remains to be seen whether Iris has laid the groundwork for a larger campaign this year, but I have a hunch it probably has.

While one of the objectives was to focus on London, there was also a need to secure some good regional coverage. Here, I think Iris missed a trick by not extending the 'Mo-off' to radio stations outside London. But I'm splitting Mo-hairs here. All in all, this was a fantastically well-executed programme that yielded great results.

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