A social media brief: Guy in gotch fights cancer

Special to The Globe and Mail

For 25 days, Mark McIntyre is hanging out on Guyathome.com in his underpants (guyathome.com)

Whether it's the annual global grassroots fundraiser Twestival or Pepsi's online fund for positive ideas, the Internet is no stranger to social media causes. For years businesses have been taking advantage of popular web tools to promote important issues, while building brand awareness at the same time. However, there is one company that is taking a brave new approach for a good cause, featuring a guy at home in his underwear.

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Now don't get too excited, this new social media star is no Old Spice Guy. This near-naked Guy at Home is not promising viewers a dream makeover or tickets to that thing you love. What he is doing is sacrificing his privacy to educate people about testicular cancer.

For 25 days, Mark McIntyre is hanging out on Guyathome.com, all day every day in his underpants (in a rented Toronto loft). The goal is to reach 50,000 fans on Facebook. In turn, boxer and briefs maker Stanfield's will donate $50,000 ($1 per fan) to the Canadian Cancer Society. So far, there are more 40,000 likes, just 16 days into the project.

Aside from playing video games, cleaning his house, inviting random people over to hang out, and doing a number of TV interviews, Mark is also promoting the campaign on Twitter. This full frontal gig is more than just a job for the Toronto resident. Mark is also a testicular cancer survivor. Throughout these weeks he's doing everything he can to raise awareness about this particular type of cancer - one of the most common for young men - including weekly challenges such as waxing his chest and getting a tattoo, all live on web cam.

There are a couple of things particularly compelling about the #guyathome. For starters, the live element and the ongoing challenges keep viewers tuning in. There is also a schedule on the site, a daily itinerary of sorts, to keep the conversation going. The fact that Mark is just a regular guy who is a cancer survivor, gives the initiative an authentic touch that is often missing from many social media campaigns.

In Canada, companies have been especially slow to innovate in the social media marketing world compared to our U.S. neighbours. Considering Stanfield's is Canadian-owned, this is probably one of the best digital stunts we've seen in this country. Aside from being fun to watch, there is actual money being raised at a healthy rate for a very good cause. In short, it's full frontal friending for charity at its best.

Follow on Twitter: @ambermac