Raising Awareness for Prostate Cancer
Movember: The Power of Competition and Momentum
In November of 2010, I looked like I'd lost a bet. For the entire month of November, I was wearing a mustache...and I don’t really look good in a mustache, to say it mildly.
I didn’t actually lose a bet. Rather I was growing a mustache to raise awareness about men’s health and to raise money for the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
It all started in October as I sat in the Villa, the main complex of our apartment drinking java at the coffee bar with a good buddy of mine, Gary. He asked me if I’d like to grow a mustache with him in November, and I immediately said, yeah, that sounds cool. I didn’t know what it was for or what was involved, I just kinda leaped.
Movember is a combination of MO (slang for Mustache in Australia) and November. It was founded about 10 years ago by Adam Giron and some of his friends. They wanted to have a symbol for men’s health the same way women have a pink ribbon for breast cancer. So the MO was born. The first year they raised about $50,000…this past year, about 450,000 men grew a MO and raised over $65,000,000 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
So, it’s November 15th, and the mustache is itchy and the initial excitement & appeal is wearing off. Gary and I are at the coffee bar, and he starts in telling me about how much money he’s raising and all the work he’s doing in order to raise the money. He’s emailing and calling everyone he knows!! I think he has about $800 raised by this time, while I had about $50. Instantly it kicked in that I needed to raise money. The momentum of the event, and the competition with Gary all of a sudden kicked in, and I was taken away! (Momentum and Competition are KEYS here)
Two thoughts came to mind:
1.) - I was way too lazy to go canvassing for money like Gary.
2.) - I needed to get creative and think of a high impact way to get money.
My friend Rashida recommended a barbecue or bake sale. That sounded like WAY too much work.
I started focusing on corporate culture. I started thinking about the Staples center, and how it was just an arena for watching sports. Staples had just forked over a bunch of cash to put their name up there. Well, why the hell couldn’t I do the same thing? … and sell the exclusive naming rights of my mustache to a local business. The value proposition was as follows:
Sent to the CEO of Maverick Investor Group.
Email Subject Line: Exclusive Naming Rights Being Offered for Farlan Dowell's Movember Mustache
Dear Maverick investor group,
How would you like to own a piece of history? Today, and today only, you have the chance to secure a mustache. Let me explain.
I am in the process of growing a mustache for Movember: http://us.movember.com/?home
Movember is an international event which takes place in the month of November where men of all walks of life grow a mustache and raise money for prostate cancer research.
I have decided to offer a select hand-full of businesses the chance to have EXCLUSIVE NAMING RIGHTS to my mustache, and to become my banner sponsor in this ongoing quest to get ugly on account of cancer research. So what does that mean for Maverick? You would now own:
THE MAVERICK MUSTACHE
What exactly does that mean?
1.) You would be hailed as my official sponsor on Facebook, with links, and PR you provide (500 friends)
2.) You would be hailed as my official sponsor on my MoSpace Page
3.) You would receive one FREE gala ticket to the Los Angeles exclusive Movember party at the Avalon, where hundreds of influential community members, sponsors, and not to mention mustache wearing men, and mustache supporting women would be present. You would have access to this crowd, where I would be on display dressed up as a Maverick, sporting the official Maverick Mustache. The leads attained at this party would be invaluable.
4.) You would have promotional opportunities, which would be fun and entertaining for current and potential customers. For example, in your monthly newsletter, buying exclusive naming rights for a mustache and supporting Cancer research is very good community outreach.
5.) I would do one video blog entry where you can post it online complete with the Press Release for the world to see, and behold, the Maverick MO!
So, you're probably thinking, I'm sold! But how much? Well it's a lot less than you think. It's not $25,000, though that would be worth every penny, it's not $10,000, though that would be a STEAL as well, and you know what, today, it's not even $8,500...today you can purchase exclusive naming rights and receive all the benefits listed about for a $1,000 tax deductible donation to Prostate Cancer Research.
In all seriousness, I am offering this to a couple other companies that I know, value and trust. There can only be ONE exclusive company that gets these naming rights, and if it's you, I need to know TODAY.
All the best!
Ladies and Gentlemen, the rest is history:
Gary and I both raised about $1,600 EACH in the end. It was a really fun month, which came to a crescendo at the Gala Party at the Avalon December 03, after which you shave off your MO.
Interesting what happens when you act more think less and say YES.
As an aside, if you’d like to try a social experiment, I would suggest growing a mustache. You would think that it’s creepy, unpopular and downright sleazy to have a mustache, but the opposite effect is true in a lot of cases. It was fun having a mustache. Counting down the days till Movember 2011!