Profile: Jeremy Gilley

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'Movember message being lost on social media'

The men’s health message behind Movember is at risk of becoming sidelined by its success as a “fashion” movement, according to a report that analyses social media reactions to the charity initiative.

Movember

Men’s health message may be getting lost in Movember.

Less than 10 per cent of the social media mentions about Movember relate to raising awareness of men’s health issues. Just 17 per cent of posts between 1 and 25 of November discuss fundraising and donating, according to the report by Precise.

Movember aims to raise funds and awareness for men’s health issues. In the UK funds raised go to Prostate Cancer UK.

Social media mentions of Movember increased 111 per cent to 1.6 million mentions between 1 and 25 November this year compared to 2011 the report found. Growth has slowed, from a 189 per cent increase the previous year and 741 per cent the year before, indicating the increasing commercialisation of the fundraising initiative is having a negative impact on sentiment, says the study.

The ‘Friends of Movember’ brand partners, which include Gillette attracted relatively little attention on social media and their association prompted the largest amount of negativity, according to the research.

Precise counted nearly 70,000 posts from the UK on 1 November, and a daily average of 11, 000 mentions. Celebrity supporters such as Michael Owen, Stephen Fry, Ricky Gervais, Alan Carr, Jamie Oliver and Richard Branson attracted a high volume of attention on social media.

James Withey, head of brand insight at Precise, says: “While more and more people are clearly aware of and excited by Movember, the original aim of the movement seems at risk of being overtaken by the excitement around growing moustaches. With relatively few tweets about raising awareness of men’s health, it would appear the good causes driving Movember have slipped from front of mind.

“There are also some early signs that an adverse reaction against perceived commercialisation may have started to take hold. In order to sustain the phenomenon, the Movember organisers may benefit from going back to their roots and drawing more overt links with its original cause, perhaps by using the celebrities who have done so much to popularise Movember and drive awareness.”

Movember was not able to provide a comment at the time of writing.

Readers' comments (8)

  • I complete agree with this article. Movember seemed to be more about fashionable facial hair than raising awareness about men's health.

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  • I completely disagree with this. Growing a moustache is the advertising tool for Movember. People hear about Movember and are reminded throughout the month by all the Mo's hopping around. If someone grows a fashionable mo and raised £5.-, growing the mo has still raised money and awareness... Thus, fullfilling its original purpose!

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  • all the people i spoke to about it knew it was about prostate cancer. so the lighter side of social media groundswell about the taches and fashion bit is a success for the movember movement

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  • Valid points, but you can't take away the fact Movember has already raised £14m this year in the UK alone. If people have fun raising money, surely that's a good thing? If you visit the Movember site, it clearly states,

    "The aim of which is to raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and testicular cancer".

    The funds raised during Movember are directed to programmes run directly by Movember and their men’s health partners, Prostate Cancer UK and the Institute of Cancer Research who in turn, use the money to raise awareness.

    The people I know might use social media to share funny moustache photos, but also understand the serious health issues behind the 'fun'. Certain social media 'mentions' might have fallen, but the total raised has increased.

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  • Total Tosh.
    This seems to think that raising awareness has to involve mentioning either cancer or fundraising. Nonsense. The Mo was the billboard. Everyone who grew it knew it. A conversation point. I set up a twitter account @MyMoDiary, 250 tweets, hardly a mention of cancer. £2,000 raised. With a lot of awareness. Do it yourself next year, and experience it, instead of making stuff up.

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  • Absolute rubbish.

    So the study says that the reducing growth rate is "indicating the increasing commercialisation of the fundraising initiative is having a negative impact on sentiment".

    Not indicating that the whole event has now brilliantly reached such a wide audience that the base size is getting bigger and bigger?

    I make it 850K more mentions this year than last. The increase last year on 2010 was closer to 500K.

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  • You really don't get it, do you? Social media mentions are not a goal in itself and - honestly - neither is raising awareness. This is about raising money for prostate cancer research more than anything else (always follow the money), and raise money is something Movember has excelled at: 80m pounds last year alone!

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  • I see Mike's beaten me to it. Know your numbers before put them on paper. Article loses credibility.
    Movember has got more commercial but isnt that like any brand or business. Start small / niche, get popular. Make cash. Done.

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