Seeing (too much?) Pink

Today is October 1st and October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  I think it is very important to become an informed individual and be aware of one’s health risks.  But does anyone else feel like they’re seeing too many  PINK products and marketing campaigns revolving around pink?

In late August, we were busy prepping for our vacation.  Living 5 minutes from a super Wal-Mart, I found myself making frequent visits there for last-minute vacation items and a few groceries.  During one visit, I stopped dead in my tracks because one area of the store was already decked out in pink and had many different merchandise items supporting breast cancer.  During that particular Wal-Mart visit, I was purchasing parchment paper (a necessary item for baking our pizzas on the pizza stone).  I just grabbed the usual brand I buy and was on my way.  I brought home the parchment paper and Bri noticed the pink ribbon on the product’s packaging.  Parchment paper supporting breast cancer, really?

The other day I ran into Acme on my way to work to grab some yogurt and apples.  Yoplait greek yogurt was the brand on sale, so I thought I’d try it (I usually buy Chobani or Fage).  Guess what was on my yogurt lid?

I’m starting to wonder if this has gone too far?!?!

Last week, I went to my hometown newspaper’s website  to look up an obituary and found that the whole website had gone pink with their tag-line being “Press for the Cure.”  And I’m sure we’ve all noticed the NFL’s pink campaign.

I’m curious to know how others feel.  I do not go out-of-the-way to buy products because they have a pink ribbon on their packaging.  I buy products from brands I trust or because it is an item I need to buy and there’s only one option at the store (as was the case with the parchment paper).  Don’t get me wrong, I do support the cause and do have some pink ribbon items.  However, I can also relate to some of the new campaigns that have sprouted against pink consumption.  There are many other issues and health conditions/cancers that also need awareness.  I think breast cancer gets the media spotlight – well, simply because its “breast” cancer.

Last year, I participated in a local “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” walk.  It was a fun event and I was successful at raising funds for the American Cancer Society.  However, I didn’t really feel a connection.  I was basically just sending emails and putting up Facebook posts asking for donations.  There are only so many times you can hit up your friends and family without annoying them.  So, I am not walking this year.  Plus, I have a much-anticipated brunch date in Baltimore with one of my bestest friends on the day of the walk.  However, I think I have found a way to support breast cancer without purposely buying pink ribbon products or continually hitting up others for donations.

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, a local organization hooked me up with a mentor.  The mentorship program was extremely helpful and I think I really benefitted from it.  Unfortunately, I lost touch with my mentor.  Last week I was at an after hours work event.  I bumped into representatives from the organization who set me up with my mentor.  They asked if I would be interested in being a peer mentor and going through their training process.  Sure, why not!  I think that this is an awesome way for me to give back and contribute to the cause without getting roped into all of the pink consumerism. Plus, I would rather give my time than my friends’ money.   On several occasions in the past, Bri had mentioned that he thought this was something that I would eventually take on.  So, we’ll see how the new approach goes.

And for all of those readers who do buy yogurt and toilet paper with pink ribbons on them – I sincerely thank you.  I do hope that any financial contributions from the sales of these products will result in better breast health or perhaps one day help fund a cure (gasp).   But I hope that you’re not just buying the product because it has a ribbon it.  Buy the product because it is something you need or would normally buy.

There’s a great site dedicated to addressing concerns over the large-scale pink ribbon products:  Think Before You Pink.  Check it out and let me know if anyone else is pinkwashed yet?

Below is a screen shot of an email from Ann Taylor Loft.  Did anyone else receive it?  I actually think I got sucked into buying this Loft Cares card last year.  I love Loft (their clothes just fit me right), but I’m choosing not to participate in their campaign this year.  Plus they send me daily emails anyway for 40% off this or 50% off that – why would I buy a card to save 20%?

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4 Responses to Seeing (too much?) Pink

  1. Kristen Parise McGillen says:

    This is a great post! I was glad to see that you mentioned Think Before You Pink. I can’t wait to hear more about you becoming a mentor!

  2. T-Bone says:

    I think greg keane and i had this same conversation one night. In a strictly business sense, competition drives results. Evidence there is money/awareness available. It is up to each cause to get it.

    • Alexis says:

      Good point, T-Bone! With insight like that, you and Mr.Keane would have aced my Corporate Strategy class. However, some companies put a cap/threshhold on their donations. Without knowing what that cap/threshhold is, consumers may be persuaded into buying products simply to “support a cause” when the donation cap has already been met.

  3. Laura says:

    I like what you said here – and T-Bone does have a good marketing perspective. I, too, feel as though everything this month is pinkwashed. Hope to write up a blog post with some sort of collage of all the “pink” things I ran into in October…just to get the message across. Breast awareness is important – that campaign has been quite a success. Now…what about a CURE?

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