Monday, 30 September 2013

Breast Cancer Awareness

PINKRIBBON.COM

October is upon us. And I'm feeling very conflicted. 

On the one hand, I know of course, what the beauty industry has done for breast cancer awareness. I do, really. It's raised millions of dollars/pounds.

However, this last month, after the huge influx of press releases advising me of products donating '5% of profits' - for example - and especially after googling 'breast cancer awareness' and seeing a paid-for SEO ad for a very famous face cream, I'm just feeling a little - I don't even know - dubious? Hesitant?

Each to their own of course, but this year I've made a donation to Breast Cancer Care. I'd rather 100% of my money goes where its needed, not used to promote a brands CSR (at my most cynical moment).

I've experienced lumps - more than once, been to the Marsden, given the all-clear.
I've experienced my best friend's survival.
And this year all of Amica's friends and family experienced breast cancer at its worst.


If you collect the Limited Editions, feel its a great way to give, I'm not here to knock that - at all. Like I said, each to their own. I have plenty of friends that actively look forward to collecting all things 'pink'. 

It's just not for me this year.


What do you think? Am I really off-base? Am I wrong? Do you agree its a bit 'bandwagon' and not always for the right reasons? And on another note, has it completely cannibalised cancer 'giving'? 

I just don't know.

In the meantime, look at these brilliant ads for breast cancer awareness from around the world.

Oh and while I'm at it, can someone explain why boobs are perfectly appropriate in a national newspaper - but breast cancer adverts are still being banned? 

36 comments:

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    1. Hear hear! If brands are sincere about wanting to help charities, all the profits from a product should be given over. The brands benefit from the publicity anyway.

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  21. Caroline, you're great. You've said exactly what I think and (as usual) been brave enough to put it in writing. X

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    1. I agree too. It's kind of tainted, I can't explain.

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  22. It's like you say, each to their own. I personally give with or without the pink gimmick, and I suppose it is all about the drips and drabs. It's just I'm a bit anti on jumping on the pink bandwagon because it has turned into a lucrative way for them to sell limited editions or pink items via the breast cancer month marketing ploy. Its not about pink lipstick, it's about the disease, raising awareness and educating the masses, men and women. I feel, and this is me personally, that it makes the topic "less serious", if that makes sense, almost trivialising it.

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  23. It's like you say, each to their own. I personally give with or without the pink gimmick, and I suppose it is all about the drips and drabs. It's just I'm a bit anti on jumping on the pink bandwagon because it has turned into a lucrative way for them to sell limited editions or pink items via the breast cancer month marketing ploy. Its not about pink lipstick, it's about the disease, raising awareness and educating the masses, men and women. I feel, and this is me personally, that it makes the topic "less serious", if that makes sense, almost trivialising it.

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  24. Anything that raises awareness of breast cancer - a disease that affects both sexes - is a good thing. But I only buy limited edition charity things if they're something I'd buy anyway. That said, I always look carefully at the small print to see how much money goes directly to the charity.

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  25. I'm with you. Personally, the only brand I buy pink things from is ASDA. I remember being mesmerised by their 'Think Pink' campaigns when I was a little girl and I believe they are the only brand do have done it for years and years. Everyone else seems to have brought out pink products because they have a wider audience via youtube and blogs to be seen as being charitable.

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  26. I'm totally down with the pink. I'd rather *some* money went to this cause from the industry than none at all. Irked, however, that October is *all* about the breast cancer, when there are SO MANY female cancers that could do with just as much attention. As for male cancers (of which breast *is also* one) well they're A LONG way behind. And we all know how great men are about getting lumps checked.

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  27. I'm totally down with the pink. I'd rather *some* money went to this cause from the industry than none at all. Irked, however, that October is *all* about the breast cancer, when there are SO MANY female cancers that could do with just as much attention. As for male cancers (of which breast *is also* one) well they're A LONG way behind. And we all know how great men are about getting lumps checked.

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  28. As part of my degree I looked closely at the HIV/AIDS red ribbon 'bandwagon' and I have also worked in CSR for a big corporate. So I now have pretty strong views on this. The company I worked for had a very ethical approach to CSR - it was never linked to product marketing and selling, and either made product donations to partner organisations or made monetary donations from a separate corporate giving pot that wasn't linked to profits. I feel very dubious about companies creating something 'pink' and then creaming off most of the profits for themselves. It feels completely dishonest as they are using a campaign to sell more product and make more profit, and if they claim this as part of their CSR then that feels even more fraudulent to me. I'm not sure selling a product raises breast cancer awareness other than 'oh yes there's something called breast cancer that is really bad and isn't this pink lipstick/blusher that I bought pretty'. This sort of thing leaves a really bad taste for me, and I think is actually corporates at their worst rather than at their best.

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  29. I have to agree. I worked for a company for two years (I won't mention the company - but Caroline I'm sure you'll know which one I'm on about) who obviously spent a great amount of money giving us pins to give out, leaflets to give out, merchandising, sending letters to us to let us to let us know how much they were doing...
    And as you say - only 5 or so percent went to the charity! Crazy! Don't spend all the marketing 'look at how much we're doing for charity' money and just give.

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  30. i do agree to some extent. i think attention on the issue is good in any form, but i can't help but think many companies have hopped on the bandwagon for marketing purposes. very candidly, i would love to take some of the attention devoted to breast cancer awareness and give it to ovarian cancer research, or better yet, drum up just as much attention for it! while not as many women get ovarian cancer when compared to breast cancer, the majority of cases are identified after the disease has already spread to other distant organs and/or lymph nodes, resulting in a very low survival rate when compared to other female cancers (and that survival rate hasn't improved or even changed over the last 40 years, per the ACS). early detection is so key. laura mercier is a big supporter of ovarian cancer research, but never once have i questioned her motivations, seeing as how i am just thrilled that she is bringing attention to the cause. oh, and also because she donates 100% of profits for select products to her research fund. hard to argue with that on paper. ok, i am off of my soapbox now. CH - I appreciate that you are soliciting feedback and the opportunity to share my thoughts.

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  31. I do not buy Breast Cancer associated products-the vast majority give a limited amount of money. Also, as a clinical research scientist, the cancer charities are like black holes for sucking up money and notoriously stingy for sharing equipment-even when the equipment is sitting idle.

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  32. You're definitely right. If you want to give to charity, give to a charity. Don't let a company use that charity to make a profit. Especially if they're only donating 5% of "profits", who knows how little that will really be...

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  33. I'm male and I use skin care . I watched QVC for ages and Amicas death has really got to me . I never knew her but there was something special about her . I don't understand cancer . My mum and dad don't drink or smoke they go to the gym eat tons of veg never ever eat rubbish but my mums had Breast Cancer and my dad has bowel cancer. Dear Caroline I adore your honesty and they way you say things . Always makes me smile ! And that's bloody brilliant

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