Why is Movember on everyone’s lips?

[Cache - #94]

This week’s blog is the second excerpt from a longer article I’ve written about the role of the Movember name in that charity’s success.  See the first post here: Movember Moniker Is A Matter of Life and Death

Mo is slang for “moustache,” a facial accessory practically synonymous with manhood – and what could be more manly than a man with the balls to take responsibility for one of the other key anatomical features exclusive to the man, the prostate?  Perhaps only parading down the street in high heels, as the exceptionally meaningful Walk A Mile In Her Shoes does to raise awareness of sexualized violence against women.

remember november

The levity of Mo also communicates the humour that is absolutely integral to Movember’s success, considering that many men deliberately grow a ridiculous-looking moustache and that many others have no choice but to grow a ridiculous-looking moustache.

Just as booby in Booby Ball begat Camp Booby (both of Rethink Breast Cancer), Mo performs the further role of linchpin in a unique Movember vocabulary, setting off a network effect in which every Mo-inspired term makes every other Mo-inspired term more reinforcing of the Movember brand.  For example, Mo Bros are the moustache-growing participants and Mo Sistas are the women who support them.  Every Mo Bro gets a Mo Space on the Movember website, where Mo Bros and Mo Sistas share Mo Photos, Mo Tweets and Mo Stories.  Movember even has the Moscars, the awards for the best homemade Movember videos shot by Mo Bros and Mo Sistas.

The next job done well by Movember is that it’s distinct – especially from other charity brands and also from the greater universe of well-known brands that vie for our daily attention.  Movember’s chief point of distinctiveness is that it’s only one word – highly unusual in the world of fundraising campaigns and events.  A distinct name by definition avoids fads, such as using -licious as a suffix.  The –licious craze began creatively enough with names like Winterlicious, Summerlicious and Beyonce’s Bootylicious, but long ago became a hallmark of laziness and creative bankruptcy shared by Jerseylicious, Yumilicious, Paint-a-licious and other copycats.

Yet distinctiveness is not a job of obvious importance to the multitude of charitable organizations using the word “walk” in their campaign names but not in a way that ties uniquely to their cause.  Even more unfortunate is a generic name like The Grape Escape, so plain it’s in simultaneous use by Edmonton Meals on Wheels, the MS Bike Tour, The Running Room, Saint Monica House and still others operating charitable events, not to mention the several private organizations using it for non-charitable purposes.

Distinctiveness helps make a name more memorable, another job performed well by Movember.  Which names are you more likely to recall tomorrow:  the generic Passions or the bold Booby Ball?  Walk for Smiles or Walk a Mile In Her Shoes?

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