The Hair of My Chinny-Chin-Chin

It’s not that they don’t want to make money; Millennials want to make a difference


It’s mid-Thursday morning, and I need a shave.

This isn’t news. I often need a shave, a point clearly driven home by disapproving looks from my wife and kids and dog (I knew we should’ve gotten a bearded collie). It’s not that I’m going for a “look;” with my trademark few days’ worth of stubble, I look less Matthew Fox in “Party of Five” and more Jack Nicholson in “The Shining.” I can no longer get away with calling it a playoff beard, sported to solidarity with the Mets’ postseason run. No, my scruff is purely an exercise in the Deadly Sin of Sloth more than of Pride.

Simply put, I often don’t shave because I don’t care to shave. But in November, I can get away with it and actually look as if I do care.

Welcome to Movember – the international month of no-shaving, a tradition dating back to Melbourne, Australia circa 2003. Twelve years ago, the Mo Movement was started not as a way to bring facial hair back into vogue but to generate awareness of men’s health issues. By 2014, the Movember Foundation had raised nearly $650 million worldwide and was ranked 72nd on a list of NGOs (ahead of No. 73 on the list by a whisker, no doubt). Talk about a growing trend.

Not shaving is literally the least we can all do to help start hard conversations that need to be had. It’s the same reason we wear pink in October or pour buckets of ice water over our heads when challenged by friends on Facebook to do so. We want to help in whatever way we can – whether it’s giving time or money to a cause special to us or having our kids trick-or-treat with UNICEF boxes or soliciting sponsorship for a local walk-a-thon. Newbridge LIVE’s Mark Nolan and Tommy Danger climb mountains; for me, Movember is the Mo-ment that I spend my year training for. I may not run the New York Marathon, carried along to Central Park with a noble cause at my back, but this is one effort in which I can go the distance (if my wife and kids and dog let me, of course).

Same is true on campuses across the country, from Beard’s Creek Golf Club in Leicester, NY (a real place) to Muttonchops Falls, Montana (not a real place, but totally should be). The thermometers are registering colder nights, the clocks have been set back . . . a homegrown face blanket can be just what college students need to cope with the onset of winter. Those old enough to grow one, that is.

Campuses always have been a fertile ground for such social campaigns. In the 1960s, college students offered a loud voice against our government’s involvement in the Vietnam War. They raised awareness about AIDS in the ‘80s, about flannel in the ‘90s.

Today’s college students look at these issues not just as a chance to be heard but as a calling. As we noted in a Tweet earlier this week, two-thirds of college students want to make a difference in their future careers.

Even before they first step foot down a career path, younger Millennials (ages 18-24) want to make a difference in the way they spend their money. According to MediaPost, 90% of a survey population acknowledge that “they will switch to brands associated with a cause.”

And they make a difference in the way they use their social media. Data from that same article shows that 66% of younger Millennials “use their social media platforms as a way to discover and share about these causes.”

There are lots of ways to make a difference. Consumers can do it by choosing which products to buy (or which companies’ visions to buy into). Companies can do it by making not just products but a difference. Think about it – you sell razors or shaving cream. . . why not create an Experiential Marketing program and set up a makeshift on-campus barber shop on December 1st, and help say good-bye to Movember by offering free shaves to those students who put their money around where their mouth is? Call it “Shave The World.” Hot towels for everyone! Use electric shavers rather than straight razor and you’d really be creating a buzz.

Me? I’m going to do it my way, by taking the Seinfeld approach: Do something by doing nothing.

It may sound lazy. But you and I know all that stubble really is a demonstration of character, of commitment. Something I like to call, the Right Scruff.

David Seigerman’s latest book, Take Your Eye Off The Ball 2.0 (Triumph Books)
will be released this fall. Follow him at @dseigs18.

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