Movember: The Trojan Horse for Men’s Health

Movember could have been another stunt charity moment that burned brightly but then faded away. But 15 years since its launch, it’s bigger than ever. As part of our Body week on CR, we talked to Movember CMO Juliette Smith about how it has maintained its success

Movember, the annual challenge for men to grow a moustache during November, and while doing so raise money for men’s health charities, is a global phenomenon, taking place in 20 countries. Yet it started as something of a gag.

The idea was sparked when two of the founders, Travis Garone and Luke Slattery, found themselves chatting about the changing nature of fashion over a beer in a pub in Melbourne, in particular the demise of facial hair for men. This was 2003, when, unlike now, shaved faces were very much de rigueur in Australia.

“They were joking and talking about how the moustache had completely disappeared off the face of Australian men,” explains Juliette Smith, CMO at Movember. “Both of their fathers had had moustaches and they were remembering back to a time when all great cricketers had moustaches, and saying ‘isn’t it funny that literally there is no facial hair on men now’.”

The duo decided it would be funny to dare each other, and a bunch of their mates (30 in total took part in the first Movember) to grow a moustache, and as Garone had a birthday at the end of November, the best mo would be judged at a party then. And thus, Movember began.

Photos from the first ever Movember party