One of the fun actionable cause marketing programs that always pops up this time of year is “Movember.”
Originally launched in Australia, the theme for “Movember” is to get primarily men (although women can help out with a fake one) to grow a mustache or not shave for the 30 days of the month of November, and then gain dollars through pledges for growing their ‘stache. Given the always intriguing Beard-A-Thons that happen in the spring, Movember has been a natural fit for sports, and now it has gained even more traction from previous years, with some new fin activations as well.
In 2014 Major League Soccer was on board in a big way with Movember, with clubs throughout the League growing ‘Mo’s (moustaches). Players, supporters, staff and partners were clean-shaven on November 1st and grew their moustaches throughout the month. Participants documented progress on their ‘MoSpace pages as part of the MLS Movember Network, on the Movember website. Women participated by becoming ‘Mo Sistas’ and created their own ‘MoSpaces to support the men they love.
Last year a host of new sports brands on both sides of the Atlantic came on board to support the initiative. One big one was adidas, who through the NFL ties enlisted the support of Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins), wide receiver Vincent Jackson (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), linebacker Von Miller (Denver Broncos) and wide receiver Sammy Watkins (Buffalo Bills) to join in and encourage others to do the same. In the UK, Mitre and the Football League teamed up to support the Movember charity campaign, turning out their new ball with a “Mo” all of its own. The new ball was provided to all 72 Football League clubs for their first matches of Movember and was featured in the 34 Sky Bet Football League matches that kicked-off on Saturday including Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City and AFC Bournemouth vs Brighton & Hove Albion, both broadcast live on Sky Sports.
This year in the States, “Movember” has found a pretty unique and fun activation idea. It is a takeoff on the concept of taking boxes on a sheet for big American football games, like one would during the Super Bowl. The numbers that intersect at the end of a quarter or a half give you a win. It’s totally random and everyone plays to give added value to watching.
The team at Box2Box™ has now taken that concept to soccer, and is raising money and awareness with a beta test during the month at key soccer bars in New York; tied to the Premier League. Meet “Bet Your Balls.”
Colleague Frank Golding came up with the idea, believing he could harness a community, increase engagement around the world game, and use some of the pool towards charity.
How does the game work? Three key soccer bars in New York; The Football Factory of Legends, Smithfield Hall, and Black Horse Pub have been hand-chosen to go up against each other to see which pub’s fans have the biggest, or most balls.
You take your squares, multiple people can choose; for four English Premier League matches each weekend, 12 matches total starting November 19. Register, declare your bar allegiance, donate to the cause. Box2Box then converts your donation into virtual soccer balls. It’s one cost during the week, and a bit higher for match weekend. You buy boxes using your virtual soccer balls. All match balls are then divided amongst the entrants in the winning box, and credited to the appropriate bar.
Now “Movember” has some shortcomings still in the traditional sense, but Bet Your Balls solves many of them; guys have to look a little unkempt in a month not known for vacations, and it is not as easy to activate such a program as it is with a “Wear Pink” campaign. Also other sports, especially Major League Baseball, do activate against prostate cancer with blue bats and other events around Father’s Day each year. Still “Movember” with “Bet Your Balls” continues to have a great upside, with the potential of thousands of fake ‘staches being given out at games during the month, maybe even tied to Coaches vs. Cancer events in college hoops. The fake handouts are low cost and would make for great digital integration and TV. Still it does cost money to engage nationally or internationally, but with the increased interest in social media, the campaign and its awareness keeps growing and new partners onboard will amplify the message around the world.
A simple idea gaining steam year over year, with an excellent cause behind it and now a ballsy new spin.