Yesterday began National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Â Certainly a worthwhile endevour, make no mistake about it. Â But I have a question. Â Where is the line between “raising awareness” and “exploiting for corporate gain”?
Go, to any supermarket, clothing store, just about anywhere now and you see things draped out in pink. Â Canon is offering a special awareness pink camera and printer. Â Sales are not tied to a donation, but at least they have commited a donation of $150,000 to cancer research. Â Yoplait, makes you collect yogurt tops to get them to make a donation, of ten cents per lid. Â Campbell’s soup is changing its label to pink and will donate up to $250,000 (or about 3.5 cents per can sold). Â While some of these seem laudable on the surface, it surely is a boom to the companies in increased sales as well. Â As a matter of fact in a ABC News story almost two years ago, they pointed out that, the increase in sales and windfall profits dwarved the nominal contributions these companies make.
Some of the programs, as pointed out by Think Before You Pink, are outright hypocritical. Â Companies like Yoplait and Hershey’s both refuse to ensure their milk is rBGH free, yet there are concerns that the bovine hormone can cause a myriad of health problems including breast cancer. Â Estee Lauder is selling its Pink Ribbon cosmetics, but refuses to sign the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, to ensure their products don’t contain chemicals that are known or suspected to be linked to breast cancer.
Then of course there is the plain outright exploitation. Â Go to Target.com and search for Breast Cancer Awareness, and you will find over 60 products available meant to “raise awareness.” Â With these products, you have no way of knowing how much (if anything) is being given to cancer awareness, or is just a profit center for these companies.
It seems to me that many of these companies are playing on the fear of breast cancer for their own profits. Â If you want to make a difference and help fund research. Â Don’t buy yogurt and eat it 3 times a day for a month, only to raise $9.30. Â Just write a check to your favorite charity or organization. Â You’ll save some money, and still be doing something to help the cause.