Expertise | 7 min read

Understanding the Movember phenomenon

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What do Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Disney, Pepsi, Amazon, KitKat and Target have in common?

They are all brands that have played a part in a major event this year: Movember.

Created by two Australians in 2003, the Movember movement has breathed new life into the moustache on a global scale. Since its inception, hundreds of thousands of men from countries all around the world have been putting their razors to one side for the month of November. The goal: raising funds and helping to prevent male diseases (prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health problems).

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Movember grew from a simple realisation - moustaches get people talking! That’s why a joke between friends has become a global cause with an impressive impact: 349 million pounds has been raised since it first launched. We monitored and analysed online conversation surrounding Movember 2015 in order to gain a deeper insight into the phenomenon and understand the role of brands in its development.

Turning health into a social media success

Movember on the social web was the equivalent to 6 Rugby World Cup finals, reaching over 384 million people. More than 93% of the online visibility for the event was generated by Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The event strategy blossomed via individual engagement with a huge volume of User Generated Content. There was also an exceptional call-to-action rate of 19%.

Today dad lies in hospital recovering after having a prostatectomy. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer just under a month ago. Behind all the pain, he is in good spirits and has quite some skill when it comes to using eye liner to draw mo's!! . Which brings me to #movember. A month where hideous moustaches are grown to bring awareness to men's health. More men die from prostate cancer each year than women die of breast cancer. . So I have set up a fundraising page to spread the word, and raise much needed funds and awareness for prostate cancer research because it is extremely likely that myself or my brother will get it too. So I'm asking you all to mention it to your dads and granddads and make them get screened. If you want to donate. I have put a link in my bio. Thank you xxx

A photo posted by Andrew Morley (@andrew_j_morley) on

Men expressing themselves on the social web

Movember gets men on the web talking. On Twitter, 80% of (gender identified) tweets were posted by men, versus 20% by women. On Instagram, the (gender identified) results are even more striking: only 17% of Movember Instagrammers were female, while 83% were male. The top three influencers were also all men: musician Cody Simpson, footballer Dani Alves and blogger Perez Hilton.

The involvement of some surprising communities

Naturally the Health community exceeded all others with its volume of Movember-related conversation, however the communities that ranked next may come as much more of a surprise. In third place, closely behind Marketing and Comms professionals were… rugby fans. Driving this involvement was the Aviva Premiership partnership with the Movember Foundation. Other communities included video game fans, with a “moustache war” being waged between @sonic_hedgehog and @NintendoAmerica as well as beauty specialists.

A truly global cause

Major brands managed to find their place within the event and participated in its visibility. Five continents were represented in the list of the top ten most active countries: North America, Asia, Europe, Oceania and Africa. China too, is starting to get involved. More than 2.5 million people were reached by Movember-related messages on Sina Weibo. France also performed well, ranking fourth among the countries rallying in support of men's health.



The brands with the highest Movember visibility were from the agri-food, new technology and entertainment sectors. The only pharmaceutical company to have fashioned itself a role as an influencer for the event was Bayer, with 1.28 million Facebook fans and 109,000 followers on Twitter. Although, Roche, Pfizer, and Sanofi each had a number of employees that registered for “Movember in the Workplace” on the Movember website.

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