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It is no secret that, while the majority of women commit to at least the annual doctor's visit so that they'll more likely have some chance at screening for the most common health issues, men don't seem to have the same motivation....

In general, women might be more likely to consider a doctor's appointment something routine to check off the list, while men seem to put preventative health care a bit further back on their to-do list. (I'm guessing most women would say they've found this to be true of the men in their lives.)
That's why the "Movember" mustache campaign in Australia and New Zealand really caught my eye. It "markets" health to men in a very clever, transparent manner that makes everyone want to join the fun. Not just another rubber bracelet cause, the campaign's developers made it a contest (appealing to that perhaps more linear/competitive male brain trait?) that culminates in a gala celebration. This is the description from the Movember site:
Movember (the month formally known as November) is a charity event held during November each year.
At the start of Movember guys register with a clean-shaven face. The Movember participants known as Mo Bros then have the remainder of the month to grow and groom their moustache and along the way raise as much money and awareness about male health issues as possible.
Clearly aimed at the 20- to 30-year-old age range, the women in the lives of these men can join in as "Mo Sistas" to inspire their husbands, significant others, brothers and so on to get in on the action and raise more men's health awareness.
Because the campaign starts and ends in such a limited time period (just the month of November) -- it is accessible and fun for those men who might not otherwise want to even think of growing a 'stache in this era of more clean shaven looks. It is for such a great cause when all is said and done, and it inspires conversation while culminating in a fun party and great photos of guys looking like they hang out with Starsky & Hutch. How could you NOT participate?
The bottom line: The Movember campaign is effective cause marketing because:
1) it resonates with young men and speaks their language of competition, humor and retro-appeal, among other things (the interest in the final party, for one).
2) it leverages the female influencers (girlfriends, wives and sisters, for example) in the fun, as well.
3) once awareness is piqued, there is perhaps more likely to be follow through - and more doctor appointments made (and kept) by the men who participated.
4) it is a campaign so fun that people will probably look forward to doing it year after year.
5) it is a very specific time commitment, so participants know exactly what to expect, should they want to try it out.
The key male health causes for Movember 2006 are:
Prostate Cancer - because every year in Australia 2,700 men die of prostate cancer - more than the number of women who die from breast cancer.
Male Depression - because one in six men suffer from depression at any given time but most don't seek help.
Testicular Cancer - because it's the second most common cancer in young men aged 18 to 35.
I LOVE this idea -- and its brilliant marketing approach. Anyone in the U.S. ready to launch a stateside Movember campaign next year?

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image of Andrea Learned
Andrea Learned is a noted author, blogger, and expert on gender-based consumer behavior. Her current focus is on sustainability from both the consumer and the organizational perspectives. Andrea contributes to the Huffington Post and provides sustainability-focused commentary for Vermont Public Radio.