The Awareness and Education Issue
On average men die four years younger than women. Men are 40 per cent more likely to die of cancer than women in South Africa, with 1 in 6 South African men being diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.
Hard hitting facts; especially when you consider that there is no biological disadvantage that puts men at greater risk than women and according to recent research up to 40 per cent of male cancer cases could be prevented by making healthy diet and lifestyle choices. The reasons for the current state of men’s health are numerous and complex but it appears that the biggest issue is the way in which men think about their health; preventative health being something many men just don’t compute. It is this issue that Movember’s Awareness and Education programme is working hard to change.
Awareness and education alters behaviour and mind-sets, it gradually breaks down barriers, removes stigmas and brings about real change. Movember wants men to take responsibility for their health, prevent illness by leading a healthy lifestyle and understand the symptoms and signs in both themselves and others so they can appreciate when and how to seek help if needed.
Spreading the Word One Mo at a Time > How it Works
Movember’s tag line is ‘changing the face of men’s health’ which articulately describes the challenge – changing your appearance by growing a moustache for 30 days and the outcome – changing the understanding and attitudes men have towards their health. The moustache is Movember’s ribbon, it is the catalyst by which Movember intends to bring about real change through the awareness generated by the simple act of growing a Mo.
The appearance of a moustache on a usually clean shaven man prompts questions from those around them. Throughout the month of Movember they are constantly asked the question - why the moustache? Each Mo Bro then needs to justify his new look with an explanation about the unique challenges men face with their health, and key messages about prostate and testicular cancer. The result is a highly effective and authentic word-of-mouth campaign.
Is Movember Making a Difference?
The answer is yes, absolutely. Recent research carried out by Movember highlighted that the campaign is working successfully in terms of raising awareness whilst having a positive impact on making men think about their health. Movember participants were shown to spend more time thinking about health issues or reflecting on them than non-participants (the general population). To be specific, the research from Movember participants around the world revealed:
92% of participants spent time thinking about improving their general health
73% had visited a doctor in the last 12 months
73% discussed men’s health with their family, friends or colleagues during Movember
58% carried out personal research on men’s health issues during Movember
85% understood that their health depends on how well they take care of themselves
The research encouragingly shows that participation in Movember does encourage men to proactively engage in the management of their health. However, there is still work to be done and Movember has a responsibility to keep raising awareness, thereby motivating and engaging men around the world to change the face of men’s health.
Empowering the Mo Bro
It’s the Mo Bros themselves that become men’s health advocates and are literally a walking and talking billboards for 30 days. Movember provides the platform, by way of the website and tools for Mo Bros to participate but it is the individual Mo Bros that bring the campaign to life by making it their own and communicating Movember’s men’s health messages in a way that is meaningful to them, their family and peers.
The impact of this authentic communication coming from someone known and trusted is significantly more meaningful than any other sort of promotion. This is where the effectiveness of Movember’s awareness program lies. The moustache is the reason for Movember’s success and will always remain the central focus of all that Movember does.
The goal of Movember’s Awareness and Education program is to significantly increase the understanding of the health risks that men face and encourage them to act on that knowledge. This is achieved by:
Encouraging public and private conversation about the issue of men’s health via the growth of a moustache
Educating the Movember community that the best way to cure cancer is to prevent it through a healthy diet, not smoking, being physically active, staying at a healthy weight and knowing your family medical history
Prompting Mo Bros to make Movember the month to have an annual physical which includes cancer screening because most cancers, particularly prostate, testicular and skin cancer are highly curable if caught early
Removing the stigmas around health issues like prostate and testicular cancer by giving men the opportunity and confidence to talk about their health more openly
Educating men on the health risks they face, the symptoms and signs in both themselves and others and appreciate when and how to seek help if needed
We know from the many heart-felt emails thanking Movember that the Awareness and Education program is saving and changing lives today, a truly amazing outcome on which no value can be placed.
Movember success lies in the fact that the campaign empowers Mo Bros and Mo Sistas and allows them to express and experience their journey in a way that is meaningful to them. Movember provides them with the tools but each individual is encouraged to stamp their own personal mark on their journey – there is no right or wrong way to take part in Movember, it’s participation that’s key. It is through the following mediums that Movember helps Mo Bros and Mo Sistas spread men’s health messages.
Each year a new creative concept is built which runs through all communication channels including the website, printed materials and media. This ensures the campaign is kept fresh and engaging for both returning Mo Bros and Sistas and new recruits.
The website is the hub of Movember, it’s where Mo Bros and Sistas register and in doing so, create an active and engaged global community. The online platform enables this community, united in their commitment to the cause, to share and experience the Movember journey through:
Mo Space: post photos and messages
News: latest updates on Mo news from around the country and world
Accessing men’s health information
Finding out about official Movember events, such as the Galas and running events
Free Awareness and Education Collateral
Movember creates a bank of information and collateral that helps organisations, teams and individuals spread the Movember message; educating themselves and others on the health risks men face during their time. Packs include:
Men’s health information
Posters: Men’s health and general
Mo Party Packs
Wristbands and badges
Positively engaging the media is absolutely essential to Movember in continuing its growth and spreading its word. With Movember comes a multitude of amazing stories and it’s the role of the team in each country to share these stories with the media and thereby enlisting their help for the cause. Approximately 17.3% of the global online population had the opportunity to be exposed to this year’s Movember campaign during the month of November.
Events & Activities
Movember events are important vehicles for delivering a Movember experience to the community. By design, they are always fun events that engage, educate and excite those taking part. A Movember event can come in many guises – launch event, bowling event, end of month Office Party or one of the official Movember Gala Partés held around the world to thank Mo Bros and Sistas for their Mo growing efforts.
Community Engagement > Mo Bros on the Ground
Spreading the word and engaging local communities and businesses is critical to spreading Movember’s health messages. The Movember team is regularly asked to speak at events and is happy to oblige wherever possible. In addition, Movember proactively seeks out communities, groups and businesses with which we can engage.
Educating > Health Spokesmen
Working in conjunction with the Movember men’s health partners, Movember is able to arrange for health spokespeople, in the fields of prostate and testicular cancer, to deliver talks to groups/organisations, with a view to fulfilling the goal of educating men on the health risks they face.
Each year, Movember is supported by well-known personalities who agree to come on board in an ambassadorial role. The awareness they generate for the cause is pivotal to the campaign’s success. Ambassadors range from politicians, sports stars, TV personalities, comedians, entertainers, musicians and high profile businessmen.
Going forward, Movember will continue to invest, develop and grow its Education and Awareness program, with a view to changing the actions and attitudes of men, related to their health, around the world.