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Boobies Rule!!!: cause marketing or cancer merchandising?

Boobies Rule!!!: cause marketing or cancer merchandising?


I recently stumbled across “Boobies Rule!!!” while chatting with Keep A Breast’s Canadian chapter on Twitter. Do those bracelets look familiar?

That’s right — they’re a pretty obvious knockoff of Keep A Breast’s enormously popular “I (heart) Boobies” bracelets.

Sure, using silicone bracelets for branded cancer causes is nothing new. But the frank and playful use of the word “boobies” hit a real nerve in KAB’s campaign, causing high schools to ban the bracelets, and ensuring that teens throughout North America would want to wear them.

But one of these things is not like the other. The Keep A Breast Foundation is registered as a non-profit in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere in the English-speaking world. Beyond the bracelets, they are involved in art projects to raise money and awareness, and are particularly involved in rallying support against carcinogenic toxins in food and consumer products.

Yeah, I like them. While the sexual context and commercial appeal of KAB’s campaign may irk some, their hearts are in the right place.

I’m not sure I can say the same about “Boobies Rule”…

[continued after the break]


Their Mission Statement sounds great:

Boobies rule!!! was created by Identical twins Rory and Troy Coppock in December of 2010. With our mother currently battling cancer, and also losing one of our best friends to brain cancer at the age of 19- we wanted to create a brand that would help raise awareness and donate money to help battle the disease that touches almost everyone in our world today.

Boobies rule!!! main mission and objective is to create products, distribute them all over the world and donate a percentage of all sales back to help with the battle against cancer, to different organizations and hospitals all over the world. Boobies rule!!! is donating a percentage of all USA sales to organizations in USA, the same formula will apply for each country in Europe, Canada and any other countries that boobies rule!!! is sold all over the world.

Having watch our friends and family battle cancer, we know it’s not easy for anyone to see someone fighting the disease or battle it themself. Lets do what we can and hopefully one day there will be a cure.

We appreciate your support- boobies rule!!!

Flawed grammar aside, it has all the hallmarks of a youthful breast cancer cause group: a personal story, raising awareness and money, and success — last year, they donated $50,000 to Living Beyond Breast Cancer.

But here’s the part that should raise alarm: “Boobies rule!!! is donating a percentage of all USA sales…” A percentage? Is this a for-profit operation?

I asked my friend at KAB Canada (who is understandably biased), and she(?) tweeted: “I actually struggled to find information online about the company, and spoke to a vendor a few weeks ago… they said they are a clothing line that donates 5% to a breast cancer charity.”

5%? Is that profits or sales? (Sales, apparently, but only specified on the bracelets.) And where does the rest of the money go?

As we have covered in our “Pinkverts” category here ar Osocio, there is a vast difference between non-profit cause marketing for breast cancer awareness/fundraising and for-profit corporate social responsibility, often including controversial “pinkwashing” campaigns.

I am not saying that Boobies Rule!!! is a cynical apparel retailer. I can’t find any third-party information about them.

But what I have seen so far is a for-profit e-commerce site that sells “awarenesswear”, has donated a significant amount of money to survivor services, and uses a highly-sexualized (and female exploitative) approach in its marketing:

I Love Motor Boating from Brave Creatives on Vimeo.

What do you think?


Boobies Rule!!!

I am Creative Director at Acart Communications, a Canadian Social Issues Marketing agency. Read more