October is national Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Pink products line the shelf, each leading their own crusade against breast cancer. For one month out of the year, companies can guiltlessly promote their products by sporting the pink ribbon in a façade of compassion. Breast Cancer Awareness just may be the greatest marketing scheme of all time. After all, everyone is willing to buy something that benefits both a cause and the donator. In recent years, many major consumer products companies have pumped out pink ‘special edition’ products for just about anything you could imagine.
The term “pink-washing” refers to a company or business that promotes pink items said to benefit Breast Cancer research and treatment, while profiting off the sale of the merchandise. So where is your money really going every time you choose the pink product over the regular one? In many cases right into the pockets of the corporations. Companies are relying on the customer’s good intentions to sell the product. They want us to feel a good about buying a pink colored product that benefits a popular cause. In recent years, it’s been hard to tell the difference between a supporter and a scam.
Many companies are losing sight of the campaigns real message to stress early detection as an effective treatment for a disease that affects 1 in 8 women in the United States. Breast cancer awareness has become more of a trend these days and can even be looked at as fashionable. The pink ribbon is incorporated into all sorts of consumer products such as make-up and clothing, making it feminine and pretty. Most people don’t bother to read the fine print because who would want to scam people out of money using cancer as the attracting element? Sadly, the promised donation to breast cancer charities is not always made.
Some companies put a cap on the amount that they will donate to the cause. Every year, the Yoplait Yogurt company launches their “Yoplait and You” fight against breast cancer campaign. Yoplait promises to donate up to $2 million dollars to breast cancer, ten cents for each lid sent in. Only after you bought the yogurt, cleaned the lid and mailed it back will they count each dime towards the cause. What I want to know is why Yoplait is making us waste all this time and postage on cleaning and mailing in lids, when they could just make a $2 million dollar donation directly to the Susan G. Komen Foundation? They even set a limit on how many lids you can submit per day. Since when do “restrictions apply” on donations? Why go through all this trouble if the company is just going to end up donating $2 million in the end no matter what? It is extraordinarily disheartening to see companies taking advantage of consumer’s good intentions for personal gain.
If you would like to make a donation that you know will go straight to the fund, visit ww5.komen.org/ or http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/.