Companies that Profit by using Pink Ribbons for Breast Cancer

Pink Ribbons, IncNational Feel Your Boobies Week continues…

If you haven’t noticed, October brings with it not just the black-and-orange fun of Halloween, but also the ubiquitious pink ribbon-emblazoned products that companies issue to show their support for breast cancer research.

Web Watch 100% supports donating to research and the good that comes from that – whether it be for breast cancer or any other charitable cause of your choice.

However, where the pink ribbon on products was once seen as solely as a philanthopic device has turned into something much more:  Just Another Marketing Ploy.

Why buy these regular spatulas when you can buy a pink spatula?

Why buy just any room circulation fan when you can buy a room circulator fan that has a pink ribbon on it?

Just browse Amazon or your favorite local store this month, and you’ll see any number of pink and ribbonized items that serve no real purpose when compared to their normal-colored counterparts sold throughout the rest of the year.

Samantha King wrote a book about this phenomenon, entitled PINK RIBBONS, INC: BREAST CANCER AND THE POLITICS OF PHILANTHROPY.  In the book she takes a look at how breast cancer has moved away from being about the disease and more about the marketing of the ribbon.

And there’s a lot of money to be had.  What started in 1993 with Avon, Estee Lauder, and other companies has turned into something that has been called a “money making machine”.   One company even claimed that they saw a 74% increase in sales of pink-themed product versus non-pink.

Want proof?  In 2008, the Susan G Komen for the Cure foundation received almost $50 million from over 250 companies.

There’s nothing wrong with buying products to support a cause, but be sure that the money is going to where you expect it to – and if you’re unsure, then feel free to give money directly to the charity of your choice instead of buying a product just because it’s something pink.