Skip to main content

Research vs. Awareness in Pink Ribbon Cause Marketing

Most of the pink ribbon cause marketing we’ll see this month won’t make a clear distinction between research and awareness. Unless they say otherwise, the major pink ribbon charities put the money they raise from cause marketing where they deem best.

As a former charity executive, I’ve long argued that for charities that’s one of the principal advantages of cause marketing.

The problem is, over the years Komen in particular, but also other pink ribbon charities have positioned themselves as cure-seekers. It’s Susan G. Komen for the Cure, after all. But cancer cures are big-ticket items, costing billions of dollars and decades of time. So Komen, and others, have also covered their bets by also being about awareness. For instance, pressing women to get mammograms well before most doctors were recommending it.

If breast cancer is caught at the earliest stages, the five-year survivability rate is 98 percent. And the mortality rate for breast cancer has been clipped by 30 percent since 1992.

These are clear victories for the mission of breast cancer awareness.

Still, there’s a number of people who think that the only legitimate use of pink ribbon cause marketing monies is to fund research. In the effort above from etailer www.Electric-Yoga.com, “15% percent of your purchase of the month’s item (the Electric Mat) benefits research (my emphasis) at City of Hope.” The mat retails on the website for $78.

City of Hope in Duarte, California is one of just 41 NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the United States. It’s a major and respected cancer research facility, in other words.

Does City of Hope do breast cancer awareness? Probably to some degree. But judging by the way Electric-Yoga.com positioned its campaign, they don’t want to sponsor any of that. They want to sponsor research. Movies like “Pink Ribbon, Inc.” cast a gimlet eye on the idea of breast cancer awareness, too.

If the goal is to cure cancer, is this suspicion of awareness warranted?

It kind of depends on what you mean when you say ‘cure’ cancer. If by cure you mean an infallible treatment after someone contracts cancer or a prophylactic like a vaccine that could prevent all forms of the disease, a cure may be yet be decades away.

But if by cure you mean a steady diminution over time of deaths due to cancer, well, then, that’s the world we live in right now.

And breast cancer awareness can take part of the credit for that right now, too.

Comments

Jen said…
You do realize that those of us who have dealt with bc are tired of being poster children for awareness? I am tired of seeing pink ribbons slapped on everything and absolutely refuse to participate in pink-tober. It is sad and a humiliating slap in the face to see the pink everywhere.

No one else has to deal with the embarassment of pink baskets of pink swag or people assuming you automatically support Komen because you had bc (I don't). Frankly, I would like to see much less awareness as we are freaking aware out the wazoo. How about awareness for lung cancer? Would you throw pink junk at a guy who had testicular cancer? I think not.

I just want October back...and I want people to stop assuming that because a pink ribbon is slapped on something, i will buy it...because that will automatically ensure I don't. Let's not forget, we don't even NEED most of the junk that is sold in the name of awareness....sad, sick and twisted that we have to fight to normalize our lives after dealing with bc.
http://dinoiafamily.typepad.com/the_dinoia_family/2012/10/i-walked-into-my-new-favorite-coffee-shop-today.html

Popular posts from this blog

Top Eight Cause-Related Marketing Campaigns of 2007

Yeah, You Read it Right. It's a Top 8 List.

More cause-related marketing campaigns are unveiled every day across the world than I review in a year at the cause-related marketing blog. And, frankly, I don’t see very many campaigns from outside North America. So I won’t pretend that my annual list of the top cause-related marketing campaigns is exhaustive.

But, like any other self-respecting blogger, I won’t let my superficial purview stop me from drawing my own tortured conclusions!

So… cue the drumroll (and the dismissive snickers)… without further ado, here is my list of the eight best cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007.

My list of the worst cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007 follows on Thursday.


Chilis and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
I was delighted by the scope of Chilis’ campaign for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. As you walked in you saw the servers adorned in black co-branded shirts. Other elements included message points on the Chilis beverage coas…

Cause-Related Marketing Meets Microfinance

Kiva.org and Advanta.com Mix it Up

You’d have had to have been in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia the last year or so to have missed the run up of microfinance. Between 2004 and 2006 more than $4 billion of capital flowed into microfinance institutions. All told experts say the total loan microfinance loan portfolio may be as much as $12.5 billion. And of course the father of microfinance, Muhammad Yunus won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. Microfinance is now so respectable, so effective, (so profitable!) that it’s already enjoying its first global backlash.

Actually that first sentence is hyperbole. Because even in Ulaanbaatar… far from almost anywhere on the vast, frigid steppes of Mongolia… microfinance is thriving such that the earliest recipients of micro loans there are now complaining about taxes and government bureaucracy! And May 29-31, 2008 the Conference of Microfinance Institutions will convene in Ulaanbaatar, the eleventh such annual conference.
Now Advanta, a credit card issuer to small…

Cause Marketing Beer with BOGO, Brew One Give One

On Monday’s post I touched on the topic of telling people what your cause marketing campaign accomplished when completed. I’ve recommended this approach to clients as a way to keep open the lines of communication with customers and clients and to get extra value from the campaign.

In other words, you’ll want to hold back some of the promotion’s budget to continue to activate the effort until the very end.

But what if that really cuts across the grain in your organization? What if it’s just not in your corporate DNA to do anything but to frontload your cause marketing activation? Well, then, add the report back to the activation of your next cause marketing effort.

New Belgium Brewing of Ft. Collins, Colorado, said to be the seventh largest brewery in the United States, did just that with this ad in Sunset magazine. I found this ad in the Alden Keene Cause Marketing Database.

New Belgium donates $1 for every barrel it brews and sells. It’s a BOGO cause marketing effort, Buy One Give One. …