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Mo' Than Just A Mustache

The latest cause marketing trend to catch wind may not have the same level of brand and celeb notoriety as big charity players like Livestrong, the Susan G Komen Foundation, or UNICEF. But, Movember, the only month when facial hair is this season's hottest and most popular accessory, is growing (pun intended) and becoming an iconic symbol of awareness all by itself.. On November 1st, men everywhere (literally, it's global) committed to become walking billboards for the month-long men's health initiative. More specifically, men will grow a mustache for the month of November, all while collecting donations and raising awareness for prostate cancer and men's mental health. The idea was originated in a Melbourne, Australia pub some 8 years ago'leave it to Australian men to kick start the most rugged cause campaign to date. Only recently has it picked up serious speed; in 2011 854,000 mustache growers raised $126.3 million dollars worldwide! There are several contributing factors to Movember's recent surge of popularity. For example, men's health is known for being low on the charity totem pole. Currently, women's health is the number one supported charitable cause, bringing in the most green and raising the most brows. After a month of wearing pink to support breast cancer, it's no surprise men are jumping at the opportunity to support their own health and well-being too. Marketing professionals have a different take on the recent growth of Movember's fuzz (err, buzz). The equation looks a little something like this: Company^2+Fun Trend*Ancillary Perks=Engagement^3 In other words, more companies than ever are beginning to realize why the Movember campaign is a pretty awesome way to get involved while on the job. Apart from the primary goals (raising awareness, donating to charity, rocking a mustache), there are many ancillary benefits of participation that, particularly for companies, have put-your-razor-down appeal. Let's take a look.. Positive Light. Similar to celebrities and name brands who hop behind well-known charities looking for an image boost, companies who support cause efforts can benefit from the same effect. Anytime a company puts time, effort, and resources towards unselfish giving, the company promotes positive brand health. This newsworthy behavior will land your brand name in print, increasing awareness and splashing your brand out there for the world to see. Togetherness. What better way to spend time together than taking weekly update pictures and checking in on stache shape development? Don't worry, there is plenty involvement available for the ladies as well. For this, I suggest getting creative. In an effort not to divulge too much highly secretive internal information, all I will say is that our ladies are participating in forms of donations, PR, sista stache's, and in only the most involved situations'?¦ grooming. Company Goals. Most corporations have their own internal goals to support charitable initiatives. In the past, this has often been accomplished through participating in walks or donating used goods. While both are great methods of giving, they don't necessarily engage and unify employees to the same extent as an experience like Movember. While banter-worthy mustache growth brings people together, it also raises money to support a very serious cause and gets people to start thinking about their own health. Fun at Work. Mustaches are fun, the pictures are even better. There are an infinite amount of accompanying toys, office supplies, and accessories that make Movember mo' enjoyable for everyone. Personally, I suggest checking out www.Beerstache.com for appropriate beverage props, complete with branding options. Perfect for celebrating your good deed and upcoming holiday parties! (Warning: Movember has a habit of creating the perfect storm of party excuses Positive Environment. Anytime you support charity, it feels good. Competing as a team for the sake of charity? That feels even better! Coming together for the sake of friendly "network" competition promotes happiness and teamwork, both which combine to create the optimal work environment for your employees. Movember can make your workplace a better place to be. Enough said. Here at AMP, we are definitely taking Movember to new evil heights. Dubbed the Evil AMPire, we are crushing our participation and donation numbers from last year, and even holding our own in the competition polls. So far, with only 78 team members, the Evil AMPire has raised $9,077.00 and currently ranked #105 out of 14345 teams nationwide. More importantly, we are ranked #2 in Boston and dominating the 2012 Boston Agency network to boot! If you think the perks and excitement of Movember sound like something your workplace could benefit from, have no fear. Not only will it happen again in 11 months, but there are also many other upcoming cause marketing opportunities that are worth checking out. Here are a few local and national options that could make your work days just as joyful as mustache growth have made mine. Cycle For Survival Habitat For Humanity JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge The Boston Marathon Last but not least, head over to www.Movember.com to learn more about men's health, how many teams the Evil AMPire is crushing (#StacheWars), and how you can still get in on the action!

The Best $96.98 We've Ever Spent

For the past week it feels like every day I've encountered new ways to contribute to the relief efforts for the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Today, I made my tiny difference. I put forth $44.60 as I shopped at my favorite (that's an understatement) fast fashion retailer ' Forever21. The Forever21 brand is donating 100% of every dollar spent on Forever21.com today to the earthquake and tsunami relief efforts. We're used to hearing that a percentage of proceeds will go to a cause, but when was the last time you heard that a brand would give up everything it earned? Forever21 has broken the mold when it comes to bringing fashion trends from the runway to the real way, and now the brand is breaking the mold again with a powerful model of giving. Millennials ' Forever21's most frequent and valued consumers ' are looking for strong, solid relationships to be built between themselves and the brands they buy. Millennials will support brands that tackle a cause and make a difference based on ideals similar to their own. They praise brands who position themselves authentically. "What you see is what you get" is a must in this generation's mind. Brands that profess to understand who Millennials are and what they want, fail. Brands that do understand these things, succeed. Millennials love brands that just 'get them.'? Today Forever21 'got'? me and four of my Millennial coworkers as we bought fashion that will support Japan. We pooled our purchases to reach the free shipping mark ' $50 of merchandise ' and spent $96.98. We donated almost $100. Frankly, that's awesome. Today, Forever21 really is forever. It doesn't get more authentic than that.

Doing Good Through'?¦Twitter?

Last September, Eva Longoria introduced the first-ever, Twitter-based celebrity auction using TwitChange. TwitChange is one of the latest developments in the 'social good'? realm, serving as a celebrity charity auction where fans bid on an opportunity to be followed, mentioned or re-tweeted by their favorite celebrities with all of the earnings donated toward a cause. The month-long auction, which benefited building homes in Haiti, turned into an instant success. Flurries of fans requested their most beloved celebrities to enter. The result: 35 million hits; more than $540,000 toward the cause; and support from more than 175 celebrities including Justin Bieber, Shaquille O'Neal and Adrian Grenier. The media also loved the creativity of TwitChange's digital auction. "Twitter enthusiasts: Ever dream of having a celebrity follow and re-tweet your tweets? Here's your chance to have that dream come true. Even better? It's all in the name of good." - @USA Today 'In the Twitter universe, where a user is judged by how many followers he has, a celebrity follow or mention can be a catapult" - @Wall Street Journal With such a positive response, it's hard to imagine that TwitChange has adversaries, but it does. Some argue that the campaign is 'more about celebrity than actual charity'? and isn't likely lead to an impactful social activism movement. While I agree that TwitChange's celebrity component may outshine its 'social good'? component, calling out TwitChange as an overall bad concept nixes the idea that any form of charity is a good form of charity. To me, social giving through TwitChange may not be 'highly-involved social activism,'? but supporting a worthy cause with a platform that raises money and awareness is noteworthy and admirable. For those interested in participating or checking out TwitChange, the next auction will take place January 29, during which NFL star Troy Polamalu ' a star safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers ' will kick off an auction to benefit Operation Once in a Lifetime.

Doing Good Through'?¦Twitter?

Last September, Eva Longoria introduced the first-ever, Twitter-based celebrity auction using TwitChange. TwitChange is one of the latest developments in the 'social good'? realm, serving as a celebrity charity auction where fans bid on an opportunity to be followed, mentioned or re-tweeted by their favorite celebrities with all of the earnings donated toward a cause. The month-long auction, which benefited building homes in Haiti, turned into an instant success. Flurries of fans requested their most beloved celebrities to enter. The result: 35 million hits; more than $540,000 toward the cause; and support from more than 175 celebrities including Justin Bieber, Shaquille O'Neal and Adrian Grenier. The media also loved the creativity of TwitChange's digital auction. "Twitter enthusiasts: Ever dream of having a celebrity follow and re-tweet your tweets? Here's your chance to have that dream come true. Even better? It's all in the name of good." - @USA Today 'In the Twitter universe, where a user is judged by how many followers he has, a celebrity follow or mention can be a catapult" - @Wall Street Journal With such a positive response, it's hard to imagine that TwitChange has adversaries, but it does. Some argue that the campaign is 'more about celebrity than actual charity'? and isn't likely lead to an impactful social activism movement. While I agree that TwitChange's celebrity component may outshine its 'social good'? component, calling out TwitChange as an overall bad concept nixes the idea that any form of charity is a good form of charity. To me, social giving through TwitChange may not be 'highly-involved social activism,'? but supporting a worthy cause with a platform that raises money and awareness is noteworthy and admirable. For those interested in participating or checking out TwitChange, the next auction will take place January 29, during which NFL star Troy Polamalu ' a star safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers ' will kick off an auction to benefit Operation Once in a Lifetime.

Life is Good for Event Sponsorship

In 1989, two brothers from Boston began selling t-shirts out of the back of a van, often sleeping on top of the shirts in the back of the van as they made their way along the East Coast. Even with their tireless efforts, business wasn't taking off. Then, five years later at a street fair, they began selling t-shirts with the drawing of a smiling stick figure with the mantra "Life is good'?, and all 48 t-shirts sold out in less than an hour. The drawing was named Jake; a happy little stick figure who simply just enjoyed life, and with that the "Life is good" brand was born ' standing for happiness and simplicity. Today, Life is Good has evolved into a lifestyle apparel brand dedicated to philanthropic causes such as the Life is Good Kids Foundation, created to help kids overcome life threatening challenges such as violence and poverty. So why am I blogging about this company? Besides the fact a successful clothing brand was created from the drawing of a stick figure'?¦   Because this past September 11-12, Life is Good brought a 2-day music festival to the Boston metro area - http://www.lifeisgood.com/festivals/, and this new music festival represents an opportunity for brands to connect with charity-minded consumers in a family friendly environment. The first annual Life is Good Festival was a family affair, held on the Prowse Farm in Canton, MA, only 20 minutes outside of Boston. With three stages, over a dozen musical artists, and various entertainment and family activities, the inaugural Life is Good Festival attracted approximately 12,000 consumers on Saturday and 15,000 on Sunday, raising over $600,000 for the Life is Good Kids Foundation. The festival offered various food and drink vendors and a wide range of entertainment options, including games and interactive art activities presented by various sponsors of the festival. The major sponsors included Chase Freedom, Chipotle, Reebok, RCN, and Stonyfield Organics. Many sponsors' consumer activations were family oriented or dedicated to a philanthropic cause, for example UPS hosted a 9.11 Giving Tent where consumers could donate items for care packages for local troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Many of the sponsors were also New England based companies like Reebok, the Cabot Creamery and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. In today's media-fragmented world, consumers are more receptive and engaged during one-on-one brand interactions set in a fun, relaxed environment. If your brand supports a childrens charity or certain philanthropic cause, next year's Life is Good festival may be a great way to connect with consumers in a fun, music-oriented environment.

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