This chapter concerns the communication practices of Movember, the annual charitable event for which men grow moustaches to raise funds and awareness about men’s health causes. Drawing primarily from discourse analyses of promotional materials and social media content from between 2012 and 2015, I outline how Movember functions as an interactive assemblage inviting participants to weave the brand into their daily lives. I focus on three specific types of co-production. First, I examine how the Movember moustache enables participants, known as Mo Bros, to engage in charity work through a fun, month-long “body project.” I explain how the moustache invokes a type of ironic masculinity that simultaneously celebrates and pokes fun at traditional symbols of manhood. Second, I explore how Movember is often celebrated for its mastery of social media and how the brand’s ironic salute to the moustache caters to social media’s image-driven environment of amusing memes, gifs, and selfies. Third, Movember’s global influence has allowed the campaign to shape definitions of “men’s health” while responding to critiques about the campaign’s research priorities and awareness goals. Yet, while Movember’s brand assemblage facilitates open-ended opportunities for participation, these modes of interactivity are also heavily constrained. I argue that these processes of co-production generate uneven health communication outcomes that limit opportunities for deep insight into men’s health debates.
|Title of host publication||Communication and Health: Media, Marketing and Risk|
|Editors||Charlene Elliott, Josh Greenberg|
|Place of Publication||Singapore|
|Publisher||Springer Nature Singapore Pte. Ltd.|
|Publication status||Published - 2022|