Think Pink

October 22, 2009
breast-cancer-commerce-HC

Credit: Mark Cunningham / MLB-Getty Images

As you may have noticed by the plethora of pink popping up lately, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Marketers are launching a variety of pastel products to help raise awareness for the cause and support important research efforts.

We recently helped Odwalla launch Pink Poetry, the newest addition to its Superfood family.Pink_Poetry_450ml_hi_res_08.03.09 This new “diva delight” already is garnering favorable reviews in a number of pink product roundup stories in outlets such as Health.comDelish.com and VivMag.com. Not only are people mentioning its great taste and nutritional benefits, but there also is an appreciation for the fact that Odwalla is donating money ($25,000) to support The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

However, not everyone is embracing all things pink this month. Campaigns like Think Before You Pink, a project of Breast Cancer Action, have been created to “call for more transparency and accountability by companies that take part in breast cancer fundraising,  and encourage consumers to ask critical questions about pink ribbon promotions.” And, Joan Raymond wrote “Seeing Red in Pink Products: One Woman’s Fight Against Breast Cancer Consumerism” in Newsweek earlier this month.

While it’s clear that some companies may be exploiting the cause, I agree with Eric Steinman in his Delish.com post (about entire months dedicated to a particular cause) that “a little bit of history and a little bit of awareness is certainly better than none.” And, despite the fact that some companies are tying relatively small donations to product purchases (Joan Raymond calls out the fact that at two cents per purchase, she would need to buy 500 Swiffers wet thingies to make a $10 donation), I would also argue that even small donations eventually can add up. 

Clearly you should be smart to avoid becoming a vicitm of “pink washing,” but there are a lot of great – and simple – ways to support an important cause. Just be sure to ask questions and read the fine print.