Movember has served as a case study of how to ping with the modern monoculture — a fundraiser for prostate cancer awareness flecked with just enough ironic entertainment value. Moustache maintenance might as well replace breakfast auditing as status update fodder for a month.
Plus, it puts a fuzzy face on cause that used to never be spoken of in mixed company.
What happens, though, if the novelty value runs its course? The number of Canadian companies looking to align themselves with the campaign foreshadows an inevitable burnout.
For now, advertisers seem eager to attach themselves to something perceived as authentic. But this isn't as much about furthering the potential for social enterprise as trying to reach a demographic that much mass media has given up on.
This year, Movember Canada branding has been attached to Rickard's beer, Speed Stick deodorant, Schick razors, Bread & Butter skincare and Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Basically, the campaign has swept in to provide a more ethical platform than a wet T-shirt contest would.
An idea that went from a lark seven years ago in Melbourne, Australia to the faces of Canadian politicians — who helped the country contribute $22.3 million to the prostate cancer cause — doesn't need to be dampened with cynicism. But the market will ultimately decide if facial hair cultivation is worthy of the spotlight.
Those who lean on metrics like the number of clicks on Facebook will leap off at the first indication of a backlash. Of course, no one-note gag lasts forever, even if Movember has been vindicated circa 2011 as a decent corporate synergy.
The Sheepdogs, the shaggy Saskatoon band who won a shampoo-sponsored contest to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone, has announced that they will donate a dollar from each ticket to their Hamilton concert to help the cause. Press attention was instantly earned as a result. Yet, the charity can only go so far — the ticket price was raised by the buck that will be handed over to Movember.