Pink ribbon

Get Real. Have cause marketing campaigns lost their way?

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Breast Cancer Awareness from Rosie the Riveter...
Image by Beverly & Pack via Flickr

Pinkwashing. Can the pink ribbon be saved from corporate cause marketing, and actually mean something for women’s health?

This is what Mia Davis asks in her provocative article¬†Next Year, Let’s Skip Breast Cancer Awareness Month on the blog Good.

Is it just me, or do others also think ‘awareness raising campaigns’ have lost their way as they have become all the more entwined with corporate brand and marketing. Reputation, image and market share seem to rule.

My mother has had breast cancer, so I have seen the effect it can have on a family. I have a sister as well, and am an uncle to her two young daughters. I do care about this cause.

My point is that the awareness raising missing the mark. Buying ‘pink ribbons and pink teddy-bears’ gives a chance for people to make a transaction so that they can say “I have done my bit”. Charity is sold out as a transaction. And how has that actually changed anything? Where has the money gone? Is this just another example of commodification of doing good?

A close friend whose wife has recently been diagnosed with the return of breast cancer was complaining to me about the emptiness of some cause-marketing campaigns. Where do survivors of breast cancer go to receive counselling or help?

Awareness raising can be so much more effective. How do we move forward from here?