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Estée Lauder pinkwashes in style

Estée Lauder pinkwashes in style

As part of Osocio’s month-long examination of the explosion of “pink” campaigns for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, here is an ad for Estée Lauder that adds the unfortunate trend of sexualizing breast cancer to their pink-branded CSR as only a fashion brand can:


They have also entered into a partnership with Philips to bathe worldwide landmarks in pink light.


The Estee Lauder Companies' Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign US Press Event

Here is a picture of Evelyn Lauder launching the campaign

The cutline says:

“This new, bold and inspiring 2011 Campaign was shot by world-renowned photographer Michael Thompson and conceived for the second year by James Gager, Senior Vice President, Group Creative Director of MAC, La Mer, Jo Malone Worldwide. Our new global Campaign emphasizes the power of diversity and people joining TOGETHER around the world with one voice to share the all-important message of breast health and that early detection saves lives.”

Immediately beneath it is a link: “See 2011 Pink Ribbon Products


That’s right — it’s a retail sales pitch. Oh, it raises money. Buy that $30 Donna Karan candle top left, and $5 will go to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. As part of the campaign, Estée Lauder Canada is donating $100,000 to the cause. And so on. But they are still selling something that is not a cure for breast cancer, or even more prevention.


They are selling “awareness”. And that awareness is adding a pink glow to their brand while it sells feel-good luxury goods. Even as these models’ picture-perfect bodies remind postoperative breast cancer survivors of the marks the disease has left on them.


Is this really the way to fight cancer? Join our discussion, on the comments here or at Osocio’s Facebook Page.

Estée Lauder Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign 2011
The Moodie Report

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