Green from Pink Makes Me See Red

Attention! I do not buy products featuring pink ribbons!

I actually go out of my way to pick a product that hasn’t been pink-washed.

Look, I applaud companies that donate to nonprofit causes. I often make the choice to support a local business because I know about the donations it has made. And I believe that breast cancer research, like most medical research, is a worthy cause.

All’s fair in love and capitalism, but it pains me to see nonprofits sell their reputations so cheaply. The companies get far more bang for their marketing buck than the nonprofits get value for the donation.

Nonprofits need to be better at estimating the true value of their reputation, then have the courage to hold out for the big bucks.

Eggland’s Best is donating $50,000 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. In exchange, they get their logo on the backs of some Race for the Cure t-shirts—I’d show you the picture from a California race, but the Eggland’s Best photostream on Flickr is All Rights Reserved. Wouldn’t want anyone unaffiliated with the company to spread awareness I guess.

They’ve got some slick videos, which may or may not also be broadcast as television commercials, but which certainly have broadcast-level production values, right down to the multi-culti cast:

They’re also stamping all of their eggs in pink rather than red.

In short, once you account for all of the promotional materials, the staff time and resource consumption of production, etc., that cost at least matches, if not wildly surpasses, the dollar value of their donation to the nonprofit. And, all of this work seems designed to let consumers know about their gift rather than let consumers know about the disease, or what to do if they want to know more about the disease.

Why not stamp their eggs with a web address for more info on how to do a breast self-exam? Or offer coupons to every person who signed up to learn about opportunities to participate in medical research through Susan Love’s Army of Women?

If Eggland’s Best were spotlighting a lesser-known disease with a true deficit in research dollars and need for a higher profile, perhaps rheumatoid arthritis or pancreatic cancer, it might be different. Might be. FYI, about pancreatic cancer:

It gets only one-ninth the government funding as prostate cancer, which kills the same number people but has a big network of prominent survivors. “We don’t have the survivors marching on Washington,” says Johns Hopkins pancreatic cancer researcher Scott Kern. He calls the low funding for the disease “more than frustrating. It is a feeling that opportunities are being lost. People are afraid to go into the field because the see the funding might be unstable.”
~ article in Forbes about under-funded diseases

For pancreatic cancer, a $50,000 donation with the value-add of having the name of the disease co-branded with the company’s name might be a great deal. True awareness might be generated.

But breast cancer? Who isn’t aware? Where’s the action step, the phase two, the plan B, where B = beyond awareness?

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3 Responses to Green from Pink Makes Me See Red

    • nonsequiteuse says:

      Yep. Being beholden to corporate sponsors also creates an awful dynamic of making individuals responsible for not getting cancer and finding a cure if we do. If we cannot have an honest dialogue about possible – probable! – environmental factors that cause breast cancer, and we turn women into a pink army of beggars for the cure, how healthy is that?

      Support KFC because they support a cure, but don’t actually EAT their food, because then you might be unhealthy and get cancer. And don’t judge KFC for marketing cheap, convenient, and tasty food to people, because then you are really judging KFC’s customers, saying they aren’t smart/wealthy/savvy enough to know better, and you are depriving them of the possibility of awareness from a pink bucket of chicken.

  1. Pingback: Pink Chicken Buckets versus Life-Saving Medical Treatment | nonsequiteuse

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