This weekend, the air resonated with the sound of a million electric razors signalling the end of another Movember and a million temporary moustaches. These were grown to raise awareness and cash for men's health issues such as prostrate and testicular cancer.

So why has the Movember meme been so successful? Here's five reasons I can think of:

1. It's fun - with moustaches having been out of fashion for some time, the campaign gives men an opportunity to indulge their inner Village People policeman/Burt Reynolds/Dutch porn star fantasy for a whole month;

2. Peer pressure - if half the men in a workplace suddenly sprout facial fungus in a good cause, there's a strong pull for the others to join in. "What's wrong, are you not man enough to grow one?";

3. Relevance - moustaches have long been associated with masculinity and the health issues concerned are men's issues;

4. Brilliant branding - check out the Movember website for a bit of tongue in cheek retro style;

5. Novelty - no-one has done anything like this before.

In comparison, most sustainability engagement programmes are, at best, like one of those multitudinous nude charity calendars - hackneyed, clich├ęd and unoriginal. They're produced with the best of intentions, but the world yawns.

If you want to get a sustainability meme running in your organisation, you could do worse than use Movember as a yardstick.

 

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