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.
December 4th, 2012 at 5:16 am
“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.”
Oh my gosh, you had me laughing out loud! I’m so glad to have found this post. I, too, was rather ignorant about the whole Movember thing. As a 44-year-old woman, it won’t be long until I’LL be able to grow a mustache in support of our brothers. (Or maybe I’ll just keep plucking and donate instead.) ~Vicki
December 4th, 2012 at 11:10 pm
Haha…. Thanks, glad you found it too! If the decision is up in the air, I’m voting for plucking and donating…… just to go on record 😉
December 4th, 2012 at 11:22 am
I was so totally on the bandwagon with you. Last year, I wrote a very similar post about Movember (Putting the NO back in Movember) and also sounded like I was gulping down that haterade. I support raising awareness and money, but feel like the mo growers are the most unaware sometimes. One of my friends started growing his mo, raised a decent amount till mid month and suddenly stop getting funds. It was a pretty fugly mo.
But he turned it around and said if enough people donate more, he’ll shave it off. I totally supported that. I hate fugly mo’s and I’m not a fan of prostate cancer. I was only glad to pay to abolish both abominations.
My suggestion is if guys trained all November and ran a 10k at the end of the month instead of growing out their staches on Facebook, I’ll be way more likely to open up my wallet. Guys look better when they are fit and stacheless (and sans knitting needles) anyway. Great post Scrooge! 😉
December 4th, 2012 at 11:17 pm
Thanks! I’m all for the 10k run too. It would weed out the truly committed, from the posers. Mind you, there is something to be said for the ease of getting people involved when the commitment only involves doing what you probably always wanted to do anyways. Probably good from the whole ‘fundraising perspective’. I’ve always said that if there is a sideburn charity, sign me up.
December 4th, 2012 at 3:52 pm
I wouldn’t feel bad if I were you. Indeed, it’s a well known truth that most of those airheads who grew a moustache did so only for the purpose of taking a picture with a duck-face to post on facebook and have people say “ohhh how cute/ridiculous/get that off/you can really pull it” and so on. The world is full of airheads and every occasion (including a charity one) is good to prove to be one. They could have chosen something like a badget to raise awareness, but NO, they had to catch men’s most hidden perversions and vain desires, knowing that all the airheads would go along with it.
December 4th, 2012 at 11:19 pm
Glad to know I’m not the only one that had that feeling. Sadly I think a lot of it’s true.