Movember co-founder Adam Garone talks about the power of the moustache

If you want an excellent example of an effective, well-executed, energetic word-of-mouth campaign, look no further than Movember. What started in 2003 as a way for a group of friends in Australia to give back to their community has grown to a globally recognized excuse to grow moustaches as a way to raise funds and awareness about men’s health issues.

“We wanted to put something on the map for prostate cancer, like the pink ribbon has done for breast cancer,” says Adam Garone, Movember CEO and co-founder.

While the moustache might not be as synonymous with prostate cancer as the pink ribbon is with breast cancer, the results are still impressive. The Movember Foundation estimates that 1.1 million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas (volunteer fundraisers) were participating worldwide this year, up from 850,000 last year. In Michigan, there were 4,350 Mo Bros and Mo Sistas participating this year, up from 2,650 in 2011.

Movember Foundation CEO Adam Garone, via his Instagram feed.

The fundraising totals for 2012 are not in yet, but Movember raised $126.3 million in 2011, up from $80.7 million the year before. Garone says 82 percent of money raised went to programs run directly by Movember and their men’s health partners, the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG Foundation. That commitment has made Movember the largest private funder of prostate cancer research and support programs in the world.

“This is the perfect word of mouth campaign,” notes Garone. “Through the course of 30 days, you see people’s changing appearance. People notice what’s on your face because it’s in your face.”

They do that through one hub that makes it easy for people to post on their social media profiles. Garone gives Mo Bros and Mo Sistas most of the credit for pushing Movember forward online.

“We just try to be a hub for connecting. It is great to see how and what people do to support Movember. The variety has been staggering,” he notes.

Moustaches around the world were sacrificed this weekend and many men have vowed to grow one again next year. And once again, Garone’s goal of changing the face of men’s health will be realized for at least another month.

For more information on the thinking behind Movember, check out Garone’s TED Talk posted earlier this year.

Photo credit: Movember

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