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A Pink Ribbon Cause Marketing Partner Cool Enough for Oakley

Oakley is a really cool brand of sunglasses worn by very cool people. Oakley’s celebrity endorsers include Olympians Oscar Pistorius, Lindsay Vonn and Shaun White. Oakley’s headquarters in Foothill Ranch, California is cool in a Blade Runner kinda way. After he sold the company to Italy’s Luxottica Group, Oakley’s founder, Jim Jannard, went on to start RED Digital Camera, which makes really cool digital cameras used by cool movie-makers. Cool comes off Oakley like snow comes off Shaun White’s snowboard at the top of the halfpipe.

So when Oakley decided to do a pair of pink sunglasses, what pink ribbon charity did they choose to partner with?

Oakley chose the Young Survival Coalition, whose tagline is, “young women facing breast cancer together.”

As I’ve mentioned in this space before, the bell curve of breast cancer diagnoses hovers over women in their fifties and sixties. But, of course, many younger women get their breast cancer diagnosis in their twenties and thirties, including triple negative breast cancer.

Even if we don’t know the exact age range of the bell curve, most of us instinctively understand that it doesn’t fall over women in their twenties and thirties. Consequently, the resources developed for the bulk of women battling breast cancer may not suit younger women. Hence, the Young Survival Coalition. The YSC exists to reach out to young women with breast cancer with information, connections, outreach, and support from specialists and peers.

Oakley, says the YSC’s website, is their biggest corporate sponsor, having generated more than $1 million for the cause since the start of their partnership. Oakley runs a straightforward transactional cause marketing effort, selling 11 sunglasses/goggles and 11 apparel items in benefit of YSC. The sunglasses/goggles generate a $20 donation and the apparel items a donation of 10% of the sale price. In the UK, certain of the sunglasses generate a donation for the Lavender Trust at Breast Cancer Care.

Let’s stipulate that contracting breast cancer at any age is never cool. But is YSC cool enough for Oakley?

Here’s how Oakley positions the relationship on its website:
"Young athletes feel indestructible. It’s an attitude that lets them challenge all limits. Young women are the same when it comes to health. Even the idea of breast cancer seems distant, an unlikely detour far down the road and decades from possibility. The reality is closer than most realize. In the United States alone, more than 250,000 women under age 40 are living with breast cancer, and it’s the leading cause of cancer deaths in women 15 to 54. Cancers in young women are generally more aggressive. The disease is usually diagnosed at later stages than with older women, and the survival rate is lower."

"The YOUNG SURVIVAL COALITION (YSC) is a non-profit network focused on the concerns and issues unique to young women affected by breast cancer. The YSC’s core purpose is to improve the quality and quantity of life for all young women facing the challenges of breast cancer. A proud partner of the YSC, Oakley is helping support its mission of Action, Advocacy and Awareness by providing $20 from each sale of this special edition sunglass and 10% from each sale of special edition apparel."
I think Oakley thinks YSC is plenty cool enough.

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