Creating A Hairy Mo-vement

Social Media Week

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Typically people start with a cause and then form a foundation or event to support it. In Movember’s case, it started in a traditional Australian way: over a couple of drinks with friends. They were talking about ‘80s fashion and how eventually everything comes back into style, so they challenged each other to bring back the moustache. “Mo” is slang for moustache in Australia, so the co-founders and friends renamed the month November to Movember and created a few simple rules, which are still in place today. All participants must register at, start the month clean-shaven, and grow a moustache for 30 days. This was 2003, and that year, for no particular reason other than as a social experiment, 30 friends grew moustaches.

While growing Mo’s opened the door for a lot of criticism from bosses, girlfriends and even parents, it also created an enormous amount of conversation.  So the following year, in 2004, the co-founders realized there was an opportunity to evolve growing Mo’s into a cause. Seeing how little awareness was raised for prostate cancer, the most common non-skin cancer affecting men, they chose this cause to support. Marrying the fun and irreverence of growing a mustache to raising awareness for prostate cancer was the catalyst for Movember’s tag line, “changing the face of men’s health.” That eloquently describes the challenge: changing your appearance by growing a mustache, while getting men engaged in their health and in prostate cancer. When someone grows a mustache, they are compelled to explain it to friends, family, and colleagues, which opens up conversations around men’s health.

Movember CEO and co-founder, Adam Garone gets asked all the time, “What’s the secret of Movember’s success?”.  Movember’s cornerstone is a great concept, and the use of leveraged technology has certainly helped accelerate the growth. Behind the fun is a highly sophisticated corporate governance and financial team, and a focus on not just raising money, but on accelerating outcomes. Year-over-year Movember aims to increase participants, funds raised and overall awareness. Since Movember began fundraising in 2004, they have consistently achieved and exceeded their goals. In 2011, over 855,000 participants around the world joined the movement, raising $126.3 million USD. Research shows that Movember participants generated 1.9 billion conversations around men’s health issues – that’s a lot of moustaches mouthing off!


Interested in hearing more about Movember? Attend Social Media Week LA’s keynote address with Adam Garone TODAY.  With Movember 2012 around the corner, we challenge you to change the face of men’s health by registering at

Kim Kuhteubl

Producer, Hildegard Media


Kim is an award-winning producer, writer and visibility strategist. She works with interior designers, makers of art and cool products and hosts in the lifestyle space building intrepid brands and creating media, publication and licensing opportunities.

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