I had harbored a fantasy of enjoying at least one day of October before getting irritated by the Pepto pink bombardment of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month merchandising. Alas, this was not to be While the usefulness of suggesting that we all be aware of breast cancer is questionable (as in seriously, how can you not be aware), the lucrative cause-branding that goes with it is an unquestionable abomination and the ad circulars which were tucked into my Saturday morning Washington Post were tricked out in pink to the max. Perhaps the worst was a multi-page Proctor&Gamble ad:
P&G offers three ways to “give”–if you use one of the coupons, they’ll donate $.02. If you spend $50, they’ll rebate you $10 and donate $10, and (they may regret this one) if you ‘like’ their Facebook page, they’ll give $.10 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NCBF), which funds mammograms for women who can’t afford them and research (although I couldn’t figure out research into what on their webpage). Not my choice of the best way to address breast cancer, but for the sake of using this as a math problem, let’s say that donating to them is a good idea.
So off you go to your favorite store and buy Olay Regenerist Moisturizer which costs about $19.00 (quick price check on drugstore.com) and use the $3.00 coupon. You spend $16.00, but how much of it goes to P&G and how much goes towards something breast cancer related? Bottom line for NBCF–$.02 Bottom line for P&G–$15.98. Now if you buy two moisturizers and something else that costs $10.00, then you spend $40.00 after the rebate and NBCF gets $10.00. But P&G is still the big winner with $30.00. So mostly your hard earned cash has gone to enrich the coffers of P&G, not to a good cause.
The point is this, just because it is pink doesn’t mean it is helpful–yes it is good that corporations give to good causes, but let’s be clear that it is very, very profitable for them to do so. If you really want to give money to address breast cancer, do some research, decide what organization is doing the most important work and send them a check unless you really were going to buy the moisturizer anyway (and if so, check to be sure that the products in it aren’t toxic or carcinogenic because it really blows how many companies use products like this to pinkwash themselves).
PS–please feel free to share links to any pink offenders you may run across–let’s help call these boob sponging profiteers out.