It’s the first blog of December, which means I’m free of ‘Movember’ commercials for yet another year, and inundated with Holiday Shopping commercials, but that’s another story. I had an idea cooked up in my head which was sort of meant to discredit a charitable organization. What a Scrooge! Who does that?
I became aware of Movember last year. It’s meant to be a charity that encourages men to grow mustaches for the month of November to raise awareness for men’s health, particularly Prostate Cancer. It was almost the end of November 2011 before I even knew that’s what it was for. They ran incredibly vague but highly stylized commercials of dudes stroking their mustaches without any real mention of why. Maybe it was that new form of slick advertising where they give you a tease, and the reveal happens later. This works for some things, but if you want me to start growing a mustache at the beginning of the month, and raise money for your organization, I’d like the reveal to come a little sooner. Maybe you thought that I had a smart phone, and I’d be so mesmerized and curious by all the mustache twirling, that I’d immediately look you up online to see what all the fuss was about. None of this took place. I eventually asked a friend, because I became increasingly annoyed with the advertising not really addressing what the issue was about. It really just looked (looks) like an excuse to grow a mustache, which is a very hip look right now even though only about 10% of men can truly pull it off. In downtown Toronto where Hipsters scurry around the streets with their Latte’s and their knitting needles (apparently), this was a big deal. Everywhere you turned, you saw a Movember stache.
2012 rolled around and a new Movember took place. This time I knew what it was about from the get-go. Again the constant advertising. Only marginally less vague than the previous year. It really is the talk of the town in this part of the world. What’s the talk of the town?? The charity and how you can get involved???? No. Prostate Cancer???? No, I haven’t heard a single person mention that. Mustaches????? Yes. It seemed to be the charity that didn’t know it was a charity. On Facebook, I saw a lot of acquaintances growing mustaches, but I only saw one guy looking for pledges.
This left me with a number of questions. Are the other guys that are growing mustaches doing it to raise awareness?? Is it raising awareness for anything other than facial hair?? Or are they just using it as an excuse to grow a stache under the pretense, that they’re trying to help the world? Or are they helping the world?? Are more men making doctors appointments this time of year to get checked out? Is this actually working? Most importantly, are they generating enough money to even pay for a fraction of the relentless television advertising that they do that makes almost no mention of the actual purpose of the charity? When people wear the Pink ribbon for Breast Cancer awareness, there is no doubt in anybody’s mind what that’s about. That’s how I feel it should be done.
Now I may just be a complete asshole, but my feeling about this up until this evening was that a large percentage of people were not in this thing for the right reasons. Or at very least, it was a wonderful idea that may have been executed in a bizarre way that I don’t understand. I mean they sure got people to grow mustaches…..That was a successful endeavour, but I came away thinking that ‘grow the mo’ was the actual end game rather than a means to an end being awareness (which is what they touted it to be).
This evening before I ranted, I decided to do some research. Not because I’m above doing an ignorant rant, because I think I’ve proven that I’m not. I just wanted to know if I had missed the point. So I went to the Movember website, and learned a few things. First of all, it’s a fantastic website. As vague as the television commercials are, the website is crystal clear about their intentions, initiatives, where the money goes, and how much they raise. They raised over $125 million dollars total(Canadian $$) in 14 countries around the world in 2011. There’s a pie chart that shows how that money was divided up (depending on what country you’re in), and in Canada they gave almost 80% of the money to ‘Prostate Cancer Canada’. Reading all of this made me feel good. Then it made me feel bad, because I’ve been such a hater, but then I felt good again because I realized it’s never too late to start fighting the good fight, and even though I still believe that most of these mustache growers have never raised a penny or a lick of awareness, there’s obviously plenty that have, and it sounds like a great cause! If you want more information, visit www.movember.com. The website is everything you would want it to be.
What did I learn? Always do your research before you write a blog about something you clearly know nothing about. To make up for my pissy attitude towards the whole thing over the last couple of years, I pledge to either take part in next year’s Movember, or (more likely) I will generously support someone else’s fundraising drive.