October 03, 2010


It's October and time once again for breast cancer awareness month. I hate all the marketing to get people to buy pink-labeled crap that either gives pennies per purchase to a charity, or gives no money whatsoever.

Both this and last week's newspaper coupons included the ubiquitous pink ribbon promotions "P&G brandSaver." Some examples:

Prilosec OTC: "Redeem this coupon and Prilosec OTC will help women by donating to the National Breast Cancer Foundation." In tiny type, "For every 9/26/10 (or 10/10/10) Prilosec OTC brandSaver coupon redeemed,  $0.02 will be donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc." Got that? Only 2 cents, only if you use this specific coupon.

Olay is somewhat more generous: "Olay will donate $1 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation with purchase of this Limited Edition Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream product." For how long will they make this donation? Is there a limit on how much Olay will donate?

SC Johnson lists many coupons,  with a promise of "partnering with the Kroger family of stores in Giving Hope a Hand to fight breast cancer." They don't say how much they're giving, or how the consumer participates. On the website I found this: "Giving Hope A Hand by investing $3 million for breast cancer awareness, treatment and research in the communities we share."

Here's one that really takes the cake - Precious Stringsters: "Save $1.00 on any Precious Stringsters or Stringsters Snack Cheese 8 oz. or larger. Look for our special packaging honoring Breast Cancer awareness Month." This company isn't giving one penny to a breast cancer charity! They're just fooling the consumer with pink packaging. DON'T BUY THIS PRODUCT if you value where your money goes.

Hershey: "Hershey's Bliss is donating $300,000 to support the breast cancer awareness efforts of Young Survival Coalition." That's only the Hershey's Bliss product. At least they say up front how much they're donating, and the coupon itself doesn't promise any additional donations when you buy the product.

Northland Dark Fruit Juices: "10 cents is donated for BCRF for every coupon redeemed.*" (In tiny print, below the asterisk: "Northland Products LLC will donate 10 cents per coupon redeemed between 9/26/2010 and 12/31/2010, up to $350,000, to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation." If you 
use the coupon to buy the juice after they've hit their donation cap, not one more penny goes to BCRF. They could hit the donation ceiling tomorrow, but the offer and coupon don't expire until December.

Bounce fabric softener: "Bring Women Together for Support." Pink ribbons everywhere, but not one word about Bounce making a donation if you buy the pink-ribboned product.

Swiffer: "With every coupon redeemed, P & G will make a donation to the National Breast Cancer Foundation to help educate women about early detection." How much money will P & G give? They don't say.

Don't get me started on Komen, the 600 pound "gorilla" of breast cancer fundraising and pink cause marketing. Read what Think Before You Pink has to say about Komen's partnership with Kentucky Fried Chicken, in which pink ribboned buckets raised $4.2 million towards a goal of $8.5 million.

And please, next time you go shopping, think before you pink. Better yet, just make a donation. Even if you give only one dollar, it's more than the two cents per product so many companies give.

Here are links to the donation pages of the breast cancer charities listed above:
Think Before You Pink
Breast Cancer  Research Foundation
Young Survival Coalition
National Breast Cancer Foundation
Susan G Komen for the Cure


  1. Jill, nice post and good research to show what a scam pink ribbon marketing can be. Sigh. If you don't mind, I'm going to link to your post in my blog . . .

  2. Betty Johanna10:16 AM

    Thanks Jill for your annual "pink post." It gives me a convenient place to which I can refer people when the opportunity presents itself.

  3. Yesterday I went to the Yoplait web site and complained. They know how many "pink lids" they sold, why should I have to wash them and mail them in (paying postage) so THEY can make a donation? They defended themselves by saying they were getting consumers "involved." Right.