Every October, corporate cause marketing kicks into high gear for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Products of all shapes and sizes are suddenly marketed as helping to “fight cancer” or “save women’s lives.” The problem is, these charitable efforts seem to be more about selling product than finding new ways to prevent or treat breast cancer.
Or this nail polish, which retails for £18, with the promise that “20 per cent of the profit from these gorgeous pink Ciaté nail varnishes will help save lives” (no recipient named).
Why is this a problem? First of all, these companies are actually profiting from consumer desire to do good when they shop. The pink connection is designed to increase sales, or at least draw interest away from competitors’ products. It raises money for the cause, sure. But it’s not pure corporate goodwill. After all, they are often only donating a part of the profit gained from the consumer. In the worst cases, this is known as pinkwashing.
Both of the above products are part of a slideshow on Marie Claire UK, with the caption:
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the shops are teeming with stylish buys that’ll help raise all important funds for the country’s leading cancer charities.
We will be featuring both the best and the worst Breast Cancer Awareness Month cause marketing throughout October, under the tag #pinkverts. In the meantime, consider watching Pink Ribbons Inc. for a broader perspective on the issue. The trailer is embedded after the break.
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