Health isn't the easiest thing to talk about, and men, in particular, aren't known for divulging much on the topic. So in the lead up to Men’s Health Month in June, the Men’s Health Trust (MHT) has created a conversation starter, with a new campaign featuring prominent Kiwi men as ‘Goodfellas’.
“We blokes aren’t all that keen on being whacked over the head with the 'you must' message. I wanted to at least get them talking” says Matt Horrocks, the sponsorship and events manager for Men’s Health Trust and creator of the campaign.
For it, he designed, produced and directed a series of videos with the help of director/DOP and producer duo James Rua and Felicia Brunsting who work together as The Hood. He also roped in 12 'Goodfellas' including, Jack Tame, Richie Hardcore, Ryan Hoffman and Phil Clemas, who open up and share their experiences with health issues—both physical and mental—as well as have a broader discussion about what it means to be a Kiwi guy.
“Men are afraid of talking about these topics. We’re big on denial. But every three hours one kiwi guy dies of a preventable cause - that’s ridiculous,” Horrocks says.
“Our goal this year is to push men’s health to the centre of the national health debate. We want to change how people think, talk and act on men's health. We want to save lives.”
To date, videos featuring Te Radar, Alastair Campbell, Phil Gifford and Selio Solomon have been released to the MHT website, Facebook page and YouTube channel. There's eight more to come.
Horrocks says the men were selected in part for their profile, but also because they have a demonstrated an interest in men’s health and their own stories to tell.
“I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to recruit them. Twelve out of the twelve guys approached said yes and none of them were shy about talking about their health,” he says.
And while the videos have yet to smash any number on YouTube or Facebook, Horrocks says they’ve worked a treat in terms of terms of building bridges and opening doors.
Come June, the videos will be supported by an eight-page spread in M2 magazine and will be shared on the publication’s website.
MHT's also pitched a major new public health initiative and is in negotiations with a potential national sponsor. So overall, for a small social media campaign, Horrocks says it’s very happy with the results.
Earlier this year, Testicular Cancer New Zealand also brought attention to men's health by asking Kiwis to rise to the challenge and go balls out. The innovative campaign by FCB challenged New Zealanders to get out on the streets and walk or run in the shape of a "cock and balls".
Testicular cancer is the most common cancer affecting young New Zealand men between the ages of 15-39 and suffers from a lack of general awareness among younger men and their peers due to shyness on talking about their 'private parts'.
Several high profile New Zealanders came out and did their part for the campaign, including The Edge DJ Dom Harvey, TV Presenter Jaquie Brown and entertainers Jono Pryor and Ben Boyce.
The provocative campaign garnered much attention not just nationally, but internationally as well. According to FCB, the campaign was trending on Mashable and the BBC within 24 hours, secured 400 editorial mentions internationally and reached 194 out of 196 countries.
Men’s Health Month kicks off with a breakfast at Auckland's Viaduct Events Centre on 1 June featuring some inspiring stories from Dr Tom Mulholland, Richie Hardcore and Leigh Hart.
The other Goodfellas will also be attending, including Gifford who will talk about his new book Looking After Your NUTS & BOLTS and regaling the audience with interesting and humorous anecdotes from his experiences writing it.
MHT encourages men to get a group of mates together and join it for a hearty breakfast and have #Menstarttalking.
Doors open at 6.40am, with the event starting promptly at 7am.
• Individual Ticket: $115.00
• Table of 10: $950.00