'Tis the season to see the marketplace saturated with all things pink, and this article is a must-read for shoppers everywhere. While I agree that "pink" products and ribbon placement definitely bring more awareness to the cause, they don't get us any closer to the cure. Thank you for sharing a few options where our dollars make a difference!
October’s here, and with it aisles of overflowing candy corn, pumpkin-flavored just-about-anything, and costume stores on every corner. And among the ubiquitous orange and black, you can’t miss the canvas of bright pink that’s sprung up in all the same places for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
But before you toss that neon pink pumpkin-carving set into your cart—thinking you’re doing a good thing—take a closer look. More and more, corporations are profiting off of “cause marketing.” Read: you think the money you’re spending is going to help a cause, but in fact, it’s just a way for companies to sell more of their product. Many of those ribbon-adorned bracelets, compacts, and coffee mugs you see only donate a very small portion of the proceeds to breast cancer charities—if anything at all.
No, I’m not saying corporations are evil for capitalizing on a growing public trend—they’re in business to make money and to create products consumers want. And every product with a pink ribbon on it is free publicity for the awareness campaign. Retailers have arguably helped drive one of the most successful marketing campaigns in history in terms of bringing attention to a cause, regardless of the actual dollars raised. It’s impossible to quantify the impact those efforts have had on consumers’ charitable (or health-related) decision-making.
Of course, if you really want to give to a cause, the best way to provide financial support is to donate straight to the source. But buying products isn’t a bad option—sporting those bright pink accessories can spread awareness and boast your intentions (and hey, they are pretty cute). Just be a smart shopper: If you want to know what’s really happening with your money, check the label to see if an actual organization is listed as a beneficiary (if there isn’t one listed, it’s highly likely that it’s not a charitable buy). And do your research to see what percentage of the proceeds are actually donated.
But, good products are out there! For starters, here are a few of our favorites that are worthwhile purchases:
- e.l.f. Studio Lip Gloss: “Give Cancer the Kiss-off!” with e.l.f.’s $3 lip gloss. The company donates 100% of profits from its two best-selling glosses to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. We like the Ballet Slippers glossy gloss for work, but throw the Sparkling Wine glitter gloss in your bag, too, to glam up your look when you leave the office and head to dinner.
- Ann Taylor Cares Jewelry: Looking for a stylish, sophisticated, or maybe even subtle way to show you care (as opposed to campaigns that flaunt our female assets)? Seventy percent of the proceeds from every purchase of these specially-designed rings and necklaces isdonated to the Breast Cancer ResearchFoundation.
- Philosophy’s ‘Shower for the Cure’ Shower Gel: Hey, who doesn’tneed body wash? This super-soft formula is available for $20, and 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the Women’s Cancer Research Fund.
- NFL “A Crucial Catch” Auction: If you’ve caught a Monday night football game lately, you couldn’t have missed the pink canvassing of the turf from the neon gear that players, coaches, and fans are sporting. The NFL’s awareness program, “A Crucial Catch” will auction off all of the items worn in October games, and 100% of every sale goes to the American Cancer Society. Whether you need to snag a gift for the football fan in your life or want a Tom Brady jersey of your own, check out the website for unique pink game apparel you can’t find elsewhere.
If you’d like to search for more products that truly support breast cancer, check out the Breast Cancer Foundation’s website. It provides hundreds of options—from fashion items to automotive gear—and better yet, it details exactly how much of the profit is donated and what organization it specifically benefits.
Bottom line: Be a smart consumer. When you spot an item on your shopping list that’s now available in bright pink, check the fine print and make the purchase with more than just good intentions.