If you're flipping through your calendar wondering why you can't find Movember listed, it's because it's a pop culture holiday that has gained popularity thanks to the Internet. Brands are latching onto these meme-worthy dates for marketing opportunities, relying on social media buzz to help spread the word about their causes and companies.
On Friday, UberEATS teamed up with Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment to deliver Little Nero's pizzas to select customers, in honor of Home Alone Day. The month before, Universal Pictures teamed up with companies for Back to the Future Day. Stunts ranged from Lyft drivers offering rides in Deloreans, Toyota recreating a 2016 Toyota Tacoma truck to mirror Marty McFly's drive in the movies, and Pepsi releasing a limited edition Pepsi Perfect drink inspired by the soda sold in the movies. In June, Krispy Kreme handed out doughnuts for National Donut Day.
"Aside from a few sporting events and some spectacular entertainment, very few things attract mass participation like holidays," said Mark DiMassimo, CEO of marketing agency Digo Brands. "So, to own a branded holiday — your own month — it's become the marketer's new treat. It's part of the trifecta of marketing now to have your own social holiday."
DiMassimo said the trend of turning holidays into marketing vehicles can be brought back about a century ago to Christmas, when stores realized the event could become a great retail opportunity. Soon after, other holidays became tent poles like Easter and the Fourth of July.
"To me, we're in the age of the social holiday," he said. "We're in a social marketing age where we're all connected and we want to participate in these holidays. That's created a long tail for niche associations."
According to the Movember Foundation, the annual "holiday" started in 2003 in Melbourne, Australia, when 30 men jokingly tried to bring the facial hair back to fashion. (However, an Australian news outlet first reported on the trend in 1999, when a group of Adelaide residents grew mustaches during November for a pet charity.)
The next year, the foundation recruited more people turned it into a fundraiser for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia. Since then, it has become a global phenomenon in honor of men's health causes, inspiring viral memes. In 2014, the foundation was ranked the 72nd best nongovernmental organization by Global Geneva.
"(Movember) allows us to cut through the noise and clutter of other events and holidays," Ansell's Carrozza said. "It happens to be in the month of November, but these are clearly issues that men deal with throughout the year."