Thin Hair Ribbons of Honor: A Dare For Creative Minds

Last November, I sported a moustache for the first time ever. I’ll do so again this year. Not because it suits me (it does not), but because it’s a remarkably simple way to start a conversation about a topic that seems altogether neglected: men’s health.

Men are notoriously reticent when it comes to their health, and generally less likely to take steps necessary to reduce their risks. This is literally killing us.

Sprouting a ‘mo to get people talking is the ingeniously simple idea of Movember, the largest global men’s health charity, with active campaigns in 21 countries around the world, and now proudly a client in the UK, Germany and Switzerland (a distinction we share with a small number of other agencies in various markets).

Their goal is to have men around the world grow moustaches during Movember, the month formerly known as November, to spark conversations that raise awareness and funds for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer, testicular cancer and men’s mental health. Since 2003, they have raised £345m (half a billion US dollars) and funded over 800 programs.

This year I’ll again ask for support from you, my friends, to keep me focused on my own follicular efforts, and encourage others to try on their own Clarke Gables and Burt Reynolds. For Millennials, try on a Ron Burgundy or Nick Offerman.

But I’m also going a step further, and asking all creative people around the world to help us spread the word with their own displays of brilliance, humour and ingenuity.

Here’s the dare:
The Movember people are looking to see what wonders you can work on an open brief that invites you to exercise free rein and change the conversation around men’s health.

What are they looking for? A short video or any other creative execution that brings to life the power of the moustache – to start new conversations and get men to think differently about their health.

Where? This could appear through any channel, but they have a number of platforms available, plus a busy website and all the usual social media channels. Use the hashtag #Movember.

When? Anytime before November 5 is brilliant to encourage people to sign-up and take part. Anything from that point on until about December 9 can then help people to raise funds or donate personally.

Who? Their main audience is urban men, bright, social, creative, and generally engaged in the world and in culture. When they sign up and grow a mo’, they’re called Mo Bros.

Why? Glory. Having fun and doing good in the process. Changing the face of men’s health. And the chance to win the magnificent prize of a Marshall amp for the submission judged to have sparked the most conversations.

And what about women? Every woman has a man in their life – a brother, father, cousin, spouse, colleague etc., and those who support a moustache grower are called Mo Sistas. They can also sign up and organize events, make donations and celebrate the transformative power of the moustache.

Some starting thoughts:
Beards: glorious free expressions of facial hair. Respect. But a ‘mo cannot thrive in the undergrowth. So men are asked to sacrifice beards for the greater good, for one month.

Mo Sistas:
A nod, wink or smile of encouragement goes a long way. Similarly, any feminine reluctance to embrace a furry top lip tickler can be a dampener to a man’s follicles. How can you persuade any initially unaccepting women that the hairy ribbon for men’s health. Is not only a badge of honor, but the sign of a great man with a noble mission?

Odd conversations and men’s health:
Stoicism and an unwillingness to face up to vulnerability is (literally) killing men early – in fact men die about five years earlier than women in many developed economies.

Creative Guidelines and Mandatory Inclusions:
No fake moustaches (unless on women and children, and these must be done with taste) and www.movember.com must be included.

Is there a catch?
No. But every team or agency that enters must have a registered fund-raising team to qualify for the prize.

And the Movember brand?
Creative, fun and positive.

And the values?
Fun, accountable, caring, humble, innovative, and committed to remarkable experiences as change agents.

Need inspiration?
The Movember Song –‐Derick Watts & The Sunday Blues

Miley Cyrus Movember Parody

Moustache Rides

David’s Big Problem (not me, different David)

Have fun!

As a Senior Partner, CEO of Ketchum’s European operations and Chairman of the London office, David Gallagher brings more than 20 years of public relations experience, both as a client and as a senior agency adviser, to some of the world’s leading brands and companies. Interested in PR, politics, Texas Longhorns and life with two labradoodles. Follow him on Twitter @TBoneGallagher.