Some See Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Stuff As Counterproductive Gimmickery

It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, as you can tell from pink gloves worn by football players, pink drinks offered at restaurants and pink luxury items for sale wherever you look. While it’s laudable that so many industries that seem to have little to do with cancer prevention are lending a hand, some see the flood of pink as disingenuous marketing that does little to fund cancer research.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune takes a look at the phenomenon, noting that the amount of things, people and objects that have gone pink has gotten ridiculous. Dog toys, hair gel and handguns are all available in pink flavors, and there is little oversight that ensures an appropriate amount of money spent on breast cancer awareness-raising products goes toward research.

A feisty cancer survivor hones the sentiment to a fine point:

“The pink garbage cans really set me off. If a company really wants to help, write out a check. This is now more about marketing than awareness.”

A spokesperson for Susan G. Komen for the Cure notes that pink products help it fund $70 million each year in breast cancer research, saying the pink proliferation helps give people as many options to give as possible.

Pink blitz for breast cancer stirs debate [Star Tribune]

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  1. Runner says:

    The olive oil only helps if… ermm… I rub it in?

  2. CosmosHuman says:

    I’ll never carry a pink gun!

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      On the other hand, a man who carries a pink gun is not to be messed with. He is obviously afraid of nothing.

      • failurate says:

        He’s probably also an analyst and a therapist.

      • CosmosHuman says:

        I have seen the pink revolver .38 at guns shows. They are not the gun for me. The .38 with a short barrel is not what I prefer to defend myself. I’m sure there are a few pink pistols out there for sale. I have a Springfield .45XD and a .9 Taurus and also a CHL.

        • George4478 says:

          I’m a lefty, so revolvers are not a good weapon for me, in general. Glock 19 or 23 for daily carry; Glock 26 when I going someplace gun-unfriendly and I want to be very concealed.

          Wifey (who is not into real “girlie” items) is not a fan of the pink pistols, either. She thinks a Kimber 1911 would be nice to have. I’m in love.

    • Cat says:

      Mrs. Cat has, for some strange reason, expressed an interest in learning to shoot (should I be afraid?). We found the cutest pink .22 at Walmart… and it doesn’t support Komen. I also recall Ted Nugent on TV with a pair of “his (camo) and hers (pink)” semi-automatics. Pretty awesome weapons for sure.

      Not as cool as the “No Reservations” episode when Anthony Bourdain visits Ted’s ranch, though.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      “Every true Grown Up Barbie Girl collection would not be complete without the Mattel line of personal defense items. From rhinestone-studded pink MACE or Pepper Spray cartridges to a wide range of handguns in colors ranging from solid pink, pink leopard print, pink giraffe print, and pink zebra print, Mattel is there for every step of the accessorizing process.”

      “Don’t ever be caught with a handgun that doesn’t match your handbag!”

      (Matching bullets sold separately)

  3. mauispiderweb says:

    Agreed. It’s nice to show that you’re aware, but the wearing o’ the pink without doing anything else, is really only lip service.

  4. Cat says:

    Companies are just doing this in the hope it will increase their sales, and I’m sick of the gimmickery. If something is pink and says Komen, I’m not buying it just because of that.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      Local car dealership: Pink balloons everywhere.

    • Phil Villakeepinitrreal says:

      I’m not buying it because of that, but I’ll go further and explain why: because of the money spent on that product, only some tiny, tiny fraction, usually pennies (or even just A penny) is even reaching Komen. Of the part that DOES reach Komen, only 20%, at best, actually goes to research.

      That Seventy Million they name above? Yeah. They’re bringing in THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY million before putting that $70M back out.

    • jiminim says:

      I pass on Komen branded objects to keep from funding their lawyer goons who attack other charities using the word “cure.”

  5. pop top says:

    People don’t directly donate to the foundation because they want the pink cereal box or the pink yogurt lid or the pink whatever to show exactly how much they care. What’s the point of being charitable if nobody knows you’re doing it, right?

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      What’s kind of annoying about it is that sometimes it’s unavoidable. I bought yogurt last week and the only yogurt cups the grocery store had were with the pink lids. It wasn’t a big deal, but for all the people who go out of their way to show off that they “care,” I don’t want to have to go out of my way to show how much I’m not like those people.

      • ChuckECheese says:

        This – the only Cascade Costco had this past weekend was in pink containers. I bought Finish instead.

      • Guppy says:

        I can’t seem to find it online, but those stupid peel off lids never come off all nice and in one piece like in the Yoplait commercials. I always end up resorting to using my teeth and the thing tears in half.

        Also, I have one of those yellow Live Strong bracelets and I wear it daily. Not because it’s cool or anything but because my mom has cancer and I swear my dad grabbed a handful of them every time they went to chemo until I wore one. It makes him happy, but I sometimes wonder how often people see it and think I’m a douche.:/

      • Yomiko says:

        And it costs more to distribute than the standard, non-pink product. It’s seasonal/promo in/out products like this that annoy merchandisers and increase supply chain costs.

  6. chefboyardee says:

    I completely agree. The NFL especially drives me nuts. Donate the money, or don’t. Stop using something as serious as breast cancer as a marketing technique. Everyone is aware of breast cancer by now. DO SOMETHING about it or shut your damn mouth. Wearing pink on the football field does nothing useful for anyone.

    • chefboyardee says:

      “General Mills’ Yoplait campaign, for example, makes it simple. It will donate 10 cents per yogurt lid, up to $2 million to Komen in 2011.”

      Here’s an even simpler idea: donate the $2 million up front, instead of holding consumers hostage for it.

      True good will is always rewarded in some way. This kind of marketing crap makes me hate your company and intentionally NOT buy your products while I write my checks directly to charity.

      • DariusC says:

        Good point, but by having people submit the lids, they get numbers associated with it. The numbers show how many people were willing to go online after keeping their sticky lids and submit lid codes to the site for 10 cents each. I will agree that it is still a marketing ploy and PR stunt though… makes people support them because of the apparent support they give the foundation.

        • MarvinMar says:

          “General Mills’ Yoplait campaign, for example, makes it simple. It will donate 10 cents per yogurt lid, up to $2 million to Komen in 2011.”

          I was going to make the same point. How about YOU give the money, and let me donate the stamp money too…… Or provide a prepaid envelope to mail in the lids.
          I’m sure the USPS would hate you though.

        • Rena says:

          Let me guess, you also have to provide your email address along with these codes?

    • George4478 says:

      I mentioned this last night to wifey while we were watching the game. I’ll be soooooo glad when this month is over. I get asked “would you like to donate a dollar to improve Breast Cancer awareness?” at every single store/restaurant I stop at. “No. No I would not.” – 4 times yesterday between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

      I’m pretty sure isolated tribes in the Upper Amazon basin are fully aware by now.

      • Galium says:

        I have never donated to a charity at a business. What is the sense of giving your money to a corporation so they can say they gave the money and then take a tax credit for it. You want to give to charities then donate to the charity itself. PS it also cuts out the middle man who takes a cut of your donation for overhead, salary etc.

    • failurate says:

      And the NFL is stuck. They can’t stop wearing pink in October for fear of backlash from the customers they were targeting, women.

      It is going to take the inevitable Susan G. Komen Foundation scandal to break this.

  7. agent 47 says:

    I think Penn & Teller did something on this.

  8. MikeTastic says:

    I think the pink stuff is not just about fund raising. It’s also about awareness. If one person decides to go get checked out because they see Mark Sanchez wearing pink shoes during a football game then it’s worth it.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      But there are probably better ways of raising awareness, and also raising funds. I’m starting to get bashed over the head with the Komen pink stuff all over the place, and it doesn’t make me any more aware because I honestly had no idea it was awareness month – as far as I can tell, the stuff is so prolific that every month might be awareness month.

      • MikeTastic says:

        I guess I just don’t understand the outrage over it all. So what? You see a lot more pink during October and maybe some women who otherwise wouldn’t go in for a check-up do. Does it really make that football game less enjoyable? Are the two seconds in the grocery store it takes to say “no thanks” to a donation going to make a huge difference?

        I donate on my own without the pink hoopla, but I get why they want to bring awareness. It doesn’t bother me at all and the disproportionate outrage some people have to the pink (not you specifically – talking in general) perplexes me.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          It’s a small enough annoyance, though it kind of adds up and you reach a boiling point. It’s one thing to be asked once or twice, but I get asked every time I go to the grocery store, and sometimes other retail stores. It seems like every grocery store asks. And then people who do the walk ask for donations or pledges. And then there are ads during TV shows and sports games, flyers on the wall, and it’s a bunch of little things, you know?

        • cybrczch says:

          I am not upset when its a company who trots out the pink for awareness, and makes a statement like “to support the fight against breast cancer, we donated x amount to the Komen foundation.”
          I am upset when they tie it to sales – Yoplait, I’m looking at you. If you read the fine print, they don’t donate unless you redeem the lids, and then, it’s only up to a set limit of 2 million dollars – anything after that is pure profit for the company.

        • pop top says:

          Why is there only breast cancer awareness when it isn’t the most common type of cancer or the leading cause of death in women?

          • JennQPublic says:

            This should have been the article, not a buried comment.

            “But won’t someone think of the boobies!?” Blech!

    • pop top says:

      I’m pretty sure that women are aware of breast cancer.

    • Nonbuyer says:

      Heart disease kills more women every year than breast cancer. And yet because breasts are visible, they get focused on more.

      • Jules Noctambule says:

        Thank you! So many people are unaware of this. Yes, heart disease is #1, above ALL cancers combined; it’s a silent but serious illness and yet there’s no big push to get women checked regularly. Of course, given how much breast cancer stuff is ‘Save ta-tas’ or ‘I LUV BOOBIES’, I sometimes get the sense that the actual awareness isn’t truly on the overall health and well-being of the women attached to those breasts.

    • Snullbug says:

      Really? Really!? You actually think that anyone would make a decision to get checked out because they saw Mark Sanchez wearing pink shoes? God help us.

  9. Sian says:

    Komen foundation pays its execs ridiculous salaries, according to their tax returns.

  10. sirwired says:

    This topic comes up Every. Single. Year.

    I agree that the Pinking campaign is possibly not the best use of limited resources (and some of the marketing tie-ins are silly), but I believe the heart of the foundation behind it is in the right place. They’ve just done a REALLY good marketing job, and it’s hard to criticize them just for that; should they have done a LESS effective advocacy job to make their critics happy? (And as a charity, the Komen foundation is reasonably efficient… 80% goes to programs, according to Charity Navigator.)

    • MikeTastic says:

      Thank you. I don’t understand why people get up in arms about this so much. Brest cancer awareness isn’t a bad thing.

      • chefboyardee says:

        Because awareness doesn’t actually help. Donated money does. If the NFL (for example) spends $20 million on pink crap to convince 10 people to go get checked out, is that better than giving that $20 million to research foundations to find a cure and save thousands of lives?

        I’d rather see the time, effort, and money go to actually finding a cure. This is marketing, plain and simple. They want to seem like they “care”. If they cared, they’d donate money to the cause, not waste money on a bunch of pink crap that’s going to end up in a landfill eventually.

        • MikeTastic says:

          Who says they’re not doing both? I’m pretty sure the NFL donates plenty of money to fund research. The marketing just gets other people on board. Look, I don’t want to wear a pink shirt, but geting upset about a football player wearing pink gloves or a baseball player using a pink bat seems silly. Just ignore it and donate (or not – it’s your choice) in your own way.

      • Rena says:

        Awareness isn’t a bad thing. Using “awareness” as a way to essentially turn cancer into a marketing opportunity is.

      • Jules Noctambule says:

        I feel for all those women (and men; equal-opportunity disease and all) who are ‘aware’ of breast cancer because they have it but couldn’t afford or access preventative care before and can’t afford or access treatment now. Because it really makes SUCH a difference when people buy yogurt cups with pink lids where .0001% of the purchase price goes to putting up ads to make people aware of breast cancer, right?

    • FyreGoddess says:

      I linked to this in another reply, but my issue with Komen is their insistence on being the only breast cancer charity and the only one allowed to use the word “Cure”.

      After reading about Komen’s active efforts to shut down other charities, I’m skeptical of all breast cancer charity incentives. I don’t want to give money to a group that is more concerned with their own trademarks and copyrights than with the cause they support, and who actively attack others with the same cause.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/07/komen-foundation-charities-cure_n_793176.html

  11. Simon Thorne says:

    Agree with Maulspiderweb, people/business want to give the appearance of caring without actually doing much to help. Being aware and doing something productive are two very different things. Pink isn’t a gimmick to be used, and its frankly quite offensive to use it as nothing more than a marketing tool.

  12. IphtashuFitz says:

    My big problem is with the Susan G. Komen foundation, not all the pink. All SGK does is raise money to promote itself. From what I understand they don’t actually provide any funding to any sort of breast cancer research, etc. They just believe that talking about and promoting the issue is enough. Just Google “Susan G. Komen scam” for more information.

    • FyreGoddess says:

      Yep, this.

      I actually came to post this link about Komen’s practices when it comes to competing charities (!!!). They are actively edging out other charities that attempt to use the phrase “For the Cure”. You know, because there is only one Cure, and that’s for breast cancer.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/07/komen-foundation-charities-cure_n_793176.html

    • JoeDawson says:

      See the topic above yours…

    • sirwired says:

      According to the usually-reliable Charity Navigator, 80% of the Komen Foundation’s revenue goes towards Program Expenses (vs. fundraising and administrative expenses.) That’s actually pretty efficient.

    • George4478 says:

      You understand wrong.

      Just Google “Susan G. Komen charity review” for more information. They are highly rated by several watchdog organizations, including the BBB Charity Accountability group. The amounts that they spend on different categories are listed in the financials.

  13. The Twilight Clone says:

    Is there anyone — ANYONE — who is not yet “aware” of breast cancer?

    • neilb says:

      Amen. I cannot imagine that incremental “promoting awareness” does much in the US outside of fattening the budgets of companies that profit from cancer screening.
      This pinkwashing certainly isn’t going to help enough people to merit its existence. I understand the motivation behind wanting to attack a disease that has hurt a loved one, but the world has far greater “bang for the buck” diseases than breast cancer (e.g., vaccine research).

      How about prostate cancer? It has a similar incidence rate as breast cancer but does not have nearly the budget!
      Heck, do prostates even have a color association? Why not? (Answer: It is easier to associate breasts than prostates with food/events…marketability above logic, I guess).

    • Absinthe says:

      What is this cancer of the breast? How did I not hear of it until now? Gee, someone should have made me aware /s

  14. Sorta Kinda Lucky Soul says:

    I’ve had heartburn about the breast cancer awareness/research campaigns since i found out how much of a cut the administrative/marketing side of the house takes vs funds going to research. Found this on one of the expose sites: “I work in the fundraisin­g world and recently found out that of the money given to Komen, only $.28 of every dollar actually goes to help women or research..­.the other $.72 is for their “administr­ative” costs…i.­e. their fancy offices, their high salaries and leagues of attorneys who dig up stuff on other little fundraisin­g efforts and then threaten to sue them.’

    I think I really had enough when I got called at home to donate to a Breast Cancer organization. They asked for 100, I said no way, I’ll give you 10. They said 50, I said no, I’ll give you 10. They said 20, I said no, I’ll donate 10. They hung up.

  15. legolex says:

    I think the Pink Stuff has gotten out of hand also. My cats don’t need pink toys. I’d also add that I think the shirts that are like “Save the ta-tas” are gross and I’m no conservative!

    • Jules Noctambule says:

      I think those shirts (and similar slogans) are offensive because they take the focus away from overall health and just focus on tits, like the woman attached is somehow unimportant.

  16. SkokieGuy says:

    Remember that when some of these non profits talk about how much or your donation goes to “research and education”…….well, having a race or placing an ad soliciting donations is “education” because it supposedly raises awareness of breast cancer.

    I encourage everyone to consider reading The Politics of Cancer by Dr. Samuel Epstein. Cancer, (like AIDS and many diseases) is a cash cow, as is fundraising.

    http://www.preventcancer.com/press/books/poc.htm

  17. theblackdog says:

    My BF refuses to donate any money to the Komen foundation because they trademarked the phrase “For the Cure” and regularly sue other organizations over it.

    • bugpaste says:

      I’m with your BF on this one. My mom is a breast cancer survivor and a huge advocate of the Komen Foundation, so this has raised some ire in the family. But yeah, I will never donate to a nonprofit that sues other nonprofits for no legitimate reason.

  18. windycitygirl68 says:

    As a survivor of a nasty type of female (gynecologic) cancer, I always resent the attention focused on pink and breast cancer. ALL cancer is important, and the money and attention devoted to “pink” seriously undermines the importance of the other female cancers that are just as prevalent and just as deadly. I refuse to support pink, I’m waiting until all cancers are represented.

    • GreatWhiteNorth says:

      I agree with you, but go a step further, cancer is cancer, let’s support research to find a cure for CANCER.

      Let’s not get stuck in the pettiness of distinguish Breast, Prostate, Lung, Pancreatic, Colo-rectal, etc. Let’s fund the research to build the tools and develop the therapies to find and stop CANCER, all cancers.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      +1

      This is very true; breast cancer is just one of many. Men can get cancer. Women can get cancer. Babies can get cancer. Pinning the focus on this one facet does a disservice to the many, many people out there who are sick.

      And it does a special disservice to the men who develop breast cancer, as they are, for some unfathomable reason, not included in a great many programs created to help those with breast cancer.

    • Hmmmmm needs more WarOtter says:

      This! I had a similiar type cancer a few years ago as well. I was pretty scared when my doc told me I had it. I wish there was more of an emphasis on gynecological cancer/disorders awareness since those seem to be more common and just as serious as other cancers and disorders. I have no problem with the SGK/pink program, but it does seem to dominate. There is plenty of room for more female awareness in October pink people!

  19. Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

    I’m at one of the large NATO bases in Afghanistan. The pink breast cancer thing looks like My Little Pony threw up all over the place here. Everyone is so sex starved and repressed by all the Puritan rules of the NATO and US forces that any talk about boobies whatsoever is a big thrill. Consequently you’ve got 250lb musclehead sergeants walking around in the gym and elsewhere with bright pink “Barbells for Boobies!” t-shirts.

    I like boobies just as much as the next guy, but come on.

    And what’s up with “fun runs”? Running isn’t fun. Ever. Yet people pay money to dress up in their pink shirts and numbers to go run 10 miles ON PURPOSE. I was in the USMC infantry for 6 years and the thing I hated the most was THE FUCKING RUNNING EVERYWHERE FOR NO REASON. Srsly. The only time I’m running is if there’s a bear or Sarah Palin or free beer.

    Sorry about the rant. Kinda.

    • valueofaloonie says:

      I wish there was a way I could heart this comment or star it or something.

      • Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

        Your panda is heart enough.

        • valueofaloonie says:

          Well, in that case, consider yourself panda-ed. Anyone who mocks both runners and “barbells for boobies”(?) gets an A++ from me.

      • Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

        Or you could do what my girlfriend always does in her emails and chats to me:

        She’s and adult but obviously thinks she’s twelve. That’s why I love her, I guess.

        • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

          Did you try to do <3?

          You actually have to use the &Code for it, (& lt ;) in order for the < to show up. The commenting system supports basic html so you can do things like use italics.

          • Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

            I did do that less than three heart thing. Like twelve times.

            If I knew html I still don’t think I’d do that here. That’s like, work or something.

    • savvy9999 says:

      +1

      and thank you for your service. in pink.

    • ellmar says:

      So, just curious, are you running FROM the bears and Sarah Palin and TO the free beer?

      • Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

        Not sure. Only know that if any of those things are around then I’m running.

  20. bball123h says:

    Is there anyone at this point who isn’t aware that breast cancer exists? I kinda feel like the word is out there.

  21. GJaunts says:

    I just wish there were awareness campaigns for the other deadly, detectable cancers. Like melanoma, for instance. It seems… unfair? inequitable? plain wrong… that the breast cancer folks have cornered the market on cancer awareness.

  22. Rod Rescueman says:

    I’m all for increasing awareness and everything, but what pisses me off is when things like this start happening:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/07/komen-foundation-charities-cure_n_793176.html

  23. Cat says:

    Hala G. Moddelmog Former President, CEO $456,437

    Serious?

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      That’s actually not a very high salary for someone to be running a huge nonprofit like Komen. One of my friends works for a very small nonprofit and her boss makes about $100,000.

      • Cat says:

        I’m in the wrong business. I need to start a non-profit to be CEO of, asap.

        For a half million, she should get her ass into the lab and start looking for a cure.

  24. Kathlene says:

    For me, they “jumped the shark” when the SJ Komen foundation partnered with KFC…the “pink bucket o’ fried chicken” promotion. Cancer survivors are well aware that fried chicken has no place in their diet, so partnering with KFC was perverse and disingenuous (to me). My cancer research dollars no longer go to SJK, they go to AICR (American Institute for Cancer Research).

    I still buy the “pinkwashed” products…for 75% off at Target in November.

    • Cat says:

      I still buy the “pinkwashed” products…for 75% off at Target in November.

      THIS.

    • flipflopju says:

      “Cancer survivors are well aware that fried chicken has no place in their diet,”

      Really? I’ll tell my doctor he failed to mention that fried chicken was now off limits to me.

      • Kathlene says:

        You should certainly tell him, but don’t be too surprised if he’s oblivious to most nutritional studies.

        Fried chicken contains high amounts of carcinogenic heterocyclic amines (higher than other fried meats, per the cited study). (Thomson B. Heterocyclic amine levels in cooked meat and the implication for New Zealanders. Eur J Cancer Prev 1999;8(3):201-06).

        • LanMan04 says:

          Except that entire study is related to *colorectal* cancer risk. Are you at risk for colorectal cancer? If not, then the study is irrelevant.

          • Kathlene says:

            So it’s OK for a breast cancer foundation to endorse foods that are implicated as cancer promoting, so long as they are not *breast cancer* promoting?? Wow. Brilliant!!! You’ve convinced me! Eating fried chicken, and HFCS Coke, and even Nutella on toast for breakfast can be part of a healthy diet!!

            Read “Anticancer”; read “Life Over Cancer”; follow Dr. Fuhrman or other doctors who actively follow nutritional studies. You’ll get a better grasp of what is and is not health-promoting for cancer survivors or those wanting to prevent it. Hint: it’s not fried chicken. If they want to “pinkwash” something, tie a pink ribbon around a piece of broccoli.

  25. The Lone Gunman says:

    Here’s an even simpler idea: donate the $2 million up front, instead of holding consumers hostage for it.

    Hasn’t anyone figured this out yet?

    No company actually donates money. It’s like taxes–they are passing through those costs to the customers. That’s why there’s that disclaimer that states that the contribution is “up to” a certain amount, because beyond that profits are impacted.

  26. cheezfri says:

    I’m all for breast cancer cures, but heart disease kills more women than all cancers combined. I try to give my money to those types of charities.

  27. Nathan says:

    If you want some interesting info on why breast cancer awareness probably causes more problems than it solves: http://www.lastwordonnothing.com/2011/10/06/breast-cancer%E2%80%99s-false-narrative/

    “That means that screening causes 10 times as many women to become cancer patients unnecessarily as it prevents from dying from breast cancer.”

  28. u1itn0w2day says:

    Too much money at stake for the cause not to be exploited. There’s always someone waiting to sieze oppurtunities like this.

  29. sj_user1 says:

    On average people who buy these products become less likely to donate directly to charitable causes. So in the end charities get less money and for profit companies get more.

  30. theblackdog says:

    Oh yeah, because it hasn’t been said yet.

    Fuck cancer.

  31. bugpaste says:

    Last year I was at 7-11 and saw breast cancer donuts. Petroleum kills you. Donuts (especially the kind without a shred of actually food content) kill you. Perfect way to support health, yes?

    Promotions like this have me convinced the Komen Foundation cares less about curing breast cancer than keeping itself in business.

  32. Coffee says:

    There’s a thin line between raising awareness for a pertinent issue and trying to profit off of said awareness. When I see “a portion of the proceeds go to breast cancer research” on these pink products, I always wonder how much of the driving force behind them is philanthropy and how much is someone in marketing determining that the profits will be $X higher if $Y proceeds go to charity…

  33. arachne says:

    I hate that shade of pink– always have– so I tend to avoid all the merchandise with that color on it.

  34. Tom the Nice Adman says:

    The Osocio social marketing blog is doing a whole series on “Pinkverts” this month: http://osocio.org/category/pinkverts/

  35. brinks says:

    A “portion” of the proceeds from the pink crap we sell at my stors goes to breast cancer research, but no one knows just what that portion actually is. Sketchy.

    On the flip side, these charities are still getting something: a little money, a lot of publicity. People who otherwise wouldn’t have heard of Komen or City of Hope now know who they can make a donation to if they choose. My mom is a breast cancer survivor. I guess I’m glad that she at least got a “trendy” disease that has some good financial backing for research. Lots of diseases don’t have the massive support to fund finding effective treatments or a cure.

  36. daemonaquila says:

    It’s all about pimping personal tragedy for corporate profits. The pink cancer awareness thing has long gone by the wayside – not that people needed their awareness raised in the first place. This is all about selling junk via false feel-good vibes, or simple guilt that the buyer hasn’t given to a good cause lately. It’s like Reverend Billy’s song says – “Can I shop enough for Africa?” It’s all a load of BS, and as soon as enough people catch on and the profits start falling, pink will be out in favor of the next marketing fad.

  37. gabrewer says:

    Disclaimmer: My wife works for the American Cancer Society, so take this post with a grain of salt if you like. ACS does a lot of research and deliberating before they will associate their brand with a corporate entity to make sure values are in sync (or at least not in conflict). My wife has been appalled that Komen has actually slapped pink ribbons on buckets of KFC in the past. Not to mention their enthusiastic use of donor money to file law suits against anyone they see as infringing on their turf, especially use of the phrase “for the cure.” Whoops, I better go ahead and contact my lawyer.

  38. PercyChuggs Was Found At JFK Airport says:

    Fun fact: awareness has never cured anything.

  39. emax4 says:

    I think by now, pretty much the whole country is aware of Breast Cancer. Now can we drop the pink ribbons and pink whatnot and move on to finding a cure?

  40. Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

    I’ll bring up my favorite disease charity question here.

    What happens if they do find a cure for Breast Cancer? Will the Komen Foundation throw once last party with a lease burning and shut down,

    OR

    Will they be like the March of Dimes. Anna Nicole Smith notwithstanding, we have come up with a cure and basically eradicated Polio. So of course, The March of Dimes shut down and you only read about them in the history books, right?

    I am sorry, if your charity, science and modern technology combined fix, cure or negated the problem. Game Over. You won. Close up and move on.

    • gabrewer says:

      Uh, the March of Dimes is not history: http://www.marchofdimes.com/

      They just changed their focus. Actually it’s probably a good idea if you have an “infrastruture” in place to turn your energies elsewhere if the origninal objective is met.

      • Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

        Sarcasm tag missing in my post re March of Dimes. I know they are still around, can’t miss the bleeping shoes for them all over my BOA branch.

        I am sorry, but “changing focus” is not admitting victory. It is saying “Oh S#!t, we did what we set out to do. Now I am going top be out of a job. What can I do to save my job?”

  41. Tunacrab says:

    totally agree. Funny, I just wrote this on my blog a couple days ago:

    I’m sick of breast cancer awareness month, for three reasons:

    1) Turning everything pink once a year is a silly, self congratulatory, empty gesture. I’m over the breast cancer “awareness” campaign. Seriously, do you really know anyone who isn’t “aware” of breast cancer? It affects what, like one in eight women? It affects most families somehow or another. How about instead of spending millions of dollars on turning stuff pink every year we put that money into actual cancer research. Pink ribbons, pink uniform accents in the NFL, pink stickers for your car, pink ribbon t-shirts, even a pink white house this year. It all just seems pretty pointless. We get it. Breast cancer exists. We’re “aware” of it. Can we tone down the “awareness” aspect and use that money for actual cancer research? Notice I said “cancer research” not “breast cancer research,” which brings me to number two:

    2) Why does breast cancer get all the attention (and in turn most of the money)? Did you know lung cancer kills almost twice as many women when compared to breast cancer? Prostate cancer? It has more annual cases, and kills more men annually. One in six men will be affected by it, compared to one in eight for breast cancer. Where’s our ribbon? Where’s our dog and pony show? What about all the other nasty cancers that kill much more aggressively than breast cancer? How about simply “Cancer Awareness Month.”

    3) It is a big scam. Go walk through the grocery store. Look at how many products and companies jump on the pink bandwagon, jacking up their prices 20%, and then donating 5% to breast cancer. Hey, thanks for that sincere gesture corporate America. Cancer shouldn’t be used to play with people’s emotions for the purpose of selling products.

    • Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

      Actually, I give props to Safeway, at least my local ones. They actually have a month (blue ribbon?) for Prostate Cancer. The cashiers, male and female, push it just as much as Breast Cancer awareness during October.

  42. Doubting thomas says:

    The feisty cancer survivor says,””The pink garbage cans really set me off. If a company really wants to help, write out a check. This is now more about marketing than awareness.”

    Ummmm. Marketing is all about awareness. That’s kind of the whole point

  43. Scamazon says:

    SGK has corporttized pink and Brest Cancer fundraising so much so that a cure would put their overpaid executives out of business. So why would they WANT a cure? I have also wondered this about other corporatized fund raisers. They are non profit and NO one monitors how much they pay their executives…

  44. icelady says:

    yep, I don’t fall for that baloney. I have not bought anything that is pink for that reason. If any organization really wants to help, a direct donation is needed, otherwise it is for their benifit, and not about Cancer at all. Hell, I don’t even give to that charity because I really have no idea what happens to that money when it leaves my hands. Is it like the 30 hour famine, where thy claim to help, but 90% of the proceeds go back into the company?
    I hate that we live in a world where you even have to be careful who you donate to…

  45. Peggee is deeply offended by impetulant, pernicious little snots disrespecting her and violating her personal space at Best Buy. says:

    One of my jobs had a display of this stuff at the beginning of the month, and it all sold out quickly. Now we have to deal with the sanctimonious assholes who come in and swoon because we’re “disrespecting the cause” and “alienating our customers” by not setting aside, like, half the store for this shit all month.

    Glad to know I’m not the only one who thinks buying pink stuff for the cause is an empty gesture.

  46. Worstdaysinceyesterday says:

    Pink is the new green

  47. jeblis says:

    Not all the pink items are about breast cancer awareness. Pink baseball hats, guns etc. are simply items marketed to women.

  48. Thyme for an edit button says:

    I saw a pink blender advertised on Amazon.com via facebook yesterday.

  49. BradenR says:

    A far greater decrease in breast cancer (male and female) might occur IF there were warnings on food served at the burger joints, fatty snacks available at grocery stores, etc. Overweight and excess fat in the body is a strong contributor for breast and all other endocrine cancers.

  50. Jim423 says:

    While breast cancer is something serious that needs funding because of it’s health risks and that people need to be aware of it, the pink campaign goes too far. You can kill a good idea by over doing it not to mention that a month of anything is way too long for me to keep my attention focused on it. And like others have written, it gets too darn silly! My local tv station had some of it’s male reporters wearing pink bras complete with feathers and sparkles- while they were on tv. (They just had to be embarrassed but of course were good sports.) Let’s make all causes/celebrations/etc no more than two weeks PLEASE!

  51. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Our ice rink tinted one surface pink for October. Hockey team played a couple of benefit games. I sneaked out and skated on it a couple of weeks ago after practice on the other rink. :)

    It’s pretty in a long shot, but up close it looks like frozen Pepto-Bismol. :P

    http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t206/sk8splat/Mespinningonpinkice.jpg

  52. Yeah Right says:

    Penn & Teller covered this in their show “Bullsh*t”. In the 20 plus years that the pink ribbon campaign has been going on there has only been a 2% increase in the reduction of breast cancer. Many organizations that sponsor “walks” end up spending the money they make on the events themselves. I refuse to buy any pink ribbon campaign products because it doesn’t help, it just lines the product manufacturer’s pockets.

  53. venomroses says:

    All the guns I’ve seen that are pink are always just pink for the ladies, not for breast cancer….

    A few people I know just by the pink stuff because they like the pink colour!

  54. SamEBates says:

    It’s called pinkwashing, and I agree with the above lady. Here’s a nice website to go along with the article:
    http://thinkbeforeyoupink.org/

  55. Thalassa says:

    I loathe the pink crap. I will go out of my way to avoid buying anything pink. If I choose to donate to a cause, I donate. I don’t need or want to wear a color to signify it.

    That said, I think I shall create a new marketing scheme: Wear brown for colon cancer month!

  56. Jules Noctambule says:

    And yet, heart disease continues to be the #1 cause of death for women in America. Too bad hearts aren’t sexy.

  57. CajunGuy says:

    I get a kick out of it when I hear people say they’re “collecting money for breast cancer” or they’re “wearing pink for breast cancer”. Really? You doing cancer the favor of collecting funds for it? I wasn’t aware cancer earned a salary.

    Of course, I’m not making fun of cancer. It’s horrible and I hope some day a real treatment/cure will be discovered. However, raising money and wearing pink for “awareness” isn’t doing anything. ANYTHING. Who doesn’t know what breast cancer is? Who doesn’t know they should be checked? If you want to raise money for RESEARCH, by all means, knock yourself out. But doing it for awareness is just assuming that everyone around you is a gelatinous meat sack with no concept of disease or self preservation.

  58. maynurd says:

    Where’s all the attention to prostate or testicular cancer?

    Why so much focus on breast cancer?? Oh wait, that would be because they are boobies….

  59. maynurd says:

    Would they still use pink if she had died of colon cancer??