Hairy Charity

Posted November 4, 2015, under Ad Absurdum

Here at Rigney Graphics, we cultivate an attitude of silly professionalism. The Lunch Meat itself is ample evidence of our company culture. So when we encounter something out in the world that also embodies that attitude, we consider it a privilege and a duty to give it a signal boost.

For example, the movement of growing mustaches to raise awareness of men’s health issues.

Mo’ Problems

It’s called Movember. It’s possible you’ve heard of it, because their ad campaigns have been far-reaching and have involved many very recognizable men (and women).

Exhibit A

One might be inclined to roll one’s eyes at the “hipster charity,” and laugh at the inherent silliness of mustaches — but that silliness is a huge part of the charity’s success. After all, growing a mustache only requires the effort of not shaving, and men’s health is an under-served but worthwhile cause.

Specifically: Movember raises money toward the study and treatment of prostate and testicular cancer; depression and other mental issues in men; as well as tackling the health problems caused by sedentary living. These are each significant threats specifically to men the world over. The charity’s website offers the chilling statistic that prostate cancer, for example — the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in American men — kills every 19 minutes.

But rather than freak everyone out with doom and gloom, the charity instead focuses on positive — and yes, hilarious — actions people can take: regular screenings, improved physical activity — and, of course, growing a mustache.

Social media and grassroots promotion play a very large part in the campaign, with “Mo Bros” being encouraged to post photos and videos of their follicular efforts, which may be featured on the foundation’s website, as well as prizes for fundraising achievements.

Modest Start

The charity got its start in Melbourne, Australia, in 2003. That year, it was just about bringing back the ‘stache, for fun. But the 30 participants were amazed and inspired by the conversation generated merely by growing unusual facial hair. They decided to put the attention to good use, and registered as a charitable foundation in 2004. Operating in Australia alone, with almost 500 participants, the Foundation raised over $40,000 USD, which went toward the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (who remain proud Movember sponsors).

Since then, they’ve powered on, expanding their scope to global reach, with celebrity spokesmen, major sponsorships, millions of participants, and a 2014 cumulative total of nearly $650 million raised to benefit men’s health projects. Movember Foundation funding has lead to breakthroughs in several areas of research, including such things as ways to better tailor cancer treatments.

We Mentioned Spokesmen

As Movember’s footprint on the social consciousness has grown, it’s inevitable that celebrities from a variety of backgrounds display their bristly support.

Naturally, the movement has distinct appeal to men who observe Movember year-round.

Canadian Astronaut Cmdr. Chris Hadfield, actor/comedian Nick Offerman, and none other than Magnum P.I. himself, Mr. Tom Selleck.

But endorsements have also come from some fellows who aren’t particularly known for facial hair.

Brad Pitt, David Beckham, Daniel Craig, and Veritably Clean.

…Spokeswomen, Too

The Movember Foundation doesn’t want to exclude the ladies, but most women either can’t or would prefer not to grow a mustache. So there’s the alternative option of daily exercise, because physical activity is absolutely one of the Foundation’s targets.

Actress Emmy Rossum is one of many celebrity ladies who are showing support for Movember and men’s health.

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