Thursday, October 24, 2013

October Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Cause Marketing, Pinkwashing and What Questions to Ask Yourself BEFORE Buying Pink Ribbon Products.


I always notice the "Pink Ribbon" products throughout the year, but during the month of October I see a surge in "Pink Ribbon" products EVERYWHERE! I'm pretty sure just about EVERY company has a "Pink Ribbon" product out during October, the Breast Cancer Awareness Month...



Blame it on Cause Marketing, a term used when "companies align themselves with a cause because it will improve the public's perception of them and increase their profits, and Breast Cancer Awareness is one of them. Unfortunately, consumers are led to believe that their purchases will help end the breast cancer epidemic." 

I'll admit that I have never bought a "Pink Ribbon" product because I just have to so many questions that can never be answered by asking the sales associate or reading the pamphlet and/or label. I just don't trust that these companies REALLY CARE about the cause they are promoting, I just see it as marketing, another way to cash in on a cause and the consumers who REALLY DO CARE. I rather donate DIRECTLY to an organization where I know how the money is being spent.

And watch out for the Pinkwasher: (pink’-wah-sher) noun. A company or organization that claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon product, but at the same time produces, manufactures and/or sells products that are linked to the disease.

Questions to ask before buying a "Pink Ribbon" product:

1. Does any money from this purchase go to support breast cancer programs? How much?
        EXAMPLE, this year, UGG Australia is selling a Pink Ribbon Collection, their famous boots and slippers with a pink ribbon on the side. HOWEVER, purchase of the Pink of Ribbon Collection is not connected to UGG Australia's donation. None of the portion of the sales went toward their already set donation of $42,750 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. No matter whether or not you buy the Pink Ribbon Collection, their donation is the same.

From UGG Australia's website Pink Ribbon Collection:
"In 2013, UGG Australia donated $42,750 to Susan G. Komen to help in the fight against breast cancer. Additional purchases will result in raising awareness to the ongoing battle and not to additional donations."     
     
2.What organization will get the money? What will they do with the funds, and how do these programs affect the breast cancer epidemic?
       EXAMPLE: The Breast Cancer Awareness 2 pack of Smooth Sphere Lip Balm is advertised by its maker, eos, online with the following: "A portion of proceeds will benefit breast cancer research." It is not clear what breast cancer organizations would benefit, how much money they would receive, and what programs or work would be funded by the donation.
3. Is there a "cap" on the amount the company will donate? Has this maximum donation already been met?
        EXAMPLE: In 2010, Reebok marketed a line of pink ribbon emblazoned footwear and apparel at prices ranging from$50 to $100. Though it heavily promoted the fact that some of their pink ribbon product sales would be donated tothe Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, they set a limit of $750,000, regardless of how many items were sold, and therewas no mechanism in place to alert consumers once the maximum donation had been met.

5. Does this product have toxins linked to breast cancer? What is the company doing to ensure that its products are not contributing to the breast cancer epidemic?
        EXAMPLE: In 2011, Susan G. Komen for the Cure commissioned a perfume called Promise Me that contains unlisted chemicals that are regulated as toxic and hazardous, have not been adequately evaluated for human safety, and have demonstrated negative health effects. Although Komen said they would reformulate future versions of the perfume, without official adoption of the precautionary principle, there is no guarantee that future versions would be better.

PLEASE Check out Think Before You Pink for more information! 

31 comments :

  1. wow. I've wondered some of these things before. Thanks for confirming that I'm not nuts...This is such a great post that you wrote. high five babe. xoxo
    oh, and I don't like UGG boots anyway. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you! Marketing cosmetics -containing parabens and other toxins- to women is criminal. The celebrities who endorse them need to be called out. Pink ribbons wrap some harmful packages.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for posting this, Nina. I have such mixed feelings about the pink ribbon campaign. I have little faith that the funds are directed properly or that the products promoting the pink ribbons aren't doing more harm than good.

    ReplyDelete
  4. thanks Nina, for the information, really a good post. xo

    ReplyDelete
  5. Agreed! I wish they would make things more transparent instead of hiding behind legal jargon...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ohhh! Great posts, wow! This is so new to me...I always thought donation is donation. Seems so untransparent from the companies :S

    GIG LOVE

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is super important. I am so glad you posted this. I think it can apply to other causes too. Thank you, thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm not sure if we have some ribbons for sale here but what I just did is donate directly and post some pinky stuff in support with breast cancer awareness :) Thanks for the tips btw :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. thanks for sharing i am sure people donot talk too much about this here... welldone

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great post! It is sad that some companies do it only for the public's perception of them and not for the cause.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have friends who also supports the breast cancer awareness. They even pulled out a giveaway for that! :)

    Deann Sarmiento
    GiG

    ReplyDelete
  12. I really love this post, Nina. You're raising awareness and giving people tools to make the right choices. Thank you for sharing this. I'll be tweeting this again! GIG

    ReplyDelete
  13. Great post! Great cause. Loved reading this! <3 GIGLove

    ReplyDelete
  14. Great pointers... these days not a lot of companies are open and will answer all this questions "up front"

    GiG

    ReplyDelete
  15. such a great post and this is a really good initiatives!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I like it when people are participating on meaningful
    activities like this. It’s great to help.

    ReplyDelete
  17. You are so right, there is occasionally a hidden reason to why brands promote different causes! Better read up before supporting.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Yay Nina!! I almost thought you might join my #rockpintober tag. Hehe XD

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love the initiative, and its for such a good cause too =)

    ReplyDelete
  20. yup, I do agree that you need to look before you buy these products and if they are really going to be donated to the PInk Ribbon organisation

    ReplyDelete
  21. Agree! I would really want Cosmetic companies to be more transparent !! Also I'd be careful to research before buying cosmetics!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I'm always happy to see any sort of awareness being made for the disease and of course, I'm fully supportive of it! I admire brands that increase this awareness :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. this is a great post! thanks for sharing! Very good initiative!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Great post! I had no idea about Pinkwasher. I would never had thought to look that carried the pink ribbon symbol on them. THank you! GIG

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for leaving the positive vibes! Many besos,bendiciones and buenas vibras. I will be sure to send them back!xo