Think Before You Pink

Do you buy products just because they support a worthwhile cause or charity? Some people do. Whether it's a plastic bracelet or a six-pack of yogurt, a product with a charitable tie-in gives you the consumer a "feel good" experience when purchased. It seems like a win-win for everyone - the consumer, the company selling the product, and the charity. But that's not always the case.

I bought Dannon yogurt recently not because of the pink tie-in, but because I like strawberry yogurt. Nevertheless, after noticing the message printed on the back of the lid which urged me to go to a website and enter a code to help raise money to fight breast cancer, I decided "Why not?" - it'd be something interesting to blog about this morning.

Turns out that Dannon's partnership with the National Breast Cancer Foundation is helping raise money to fight cancer - with 10 cents being donated for every time a special code (found under the foil lids of specially marketed Dannon yogurt products) is entered on the cupsofhope.com website. Here's the landing page ...
Very easy to interact with and "fully loaded" for sharing on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
(By the way, that is not a napkin in front of Jamie Lee Curtis' face. That's the video play button.) The Dannon Cups of Hope campaign includes the Activa, DanActive, Dannon All Natural, Dannon Blended, Dannon Fruit on The Bottom, Dannon Greek and Dannon Light & Fit products.

All of which prompted me to do a little research into how yogurt ties in with breast cancer prevention, other than being "healthy" or good for you, and here's where it got interesting.

Up popped an article about "pinkwashing" - the practice where corporations try to boost sales by "pushing pink," tie to a product and then rake in the bucks. From the article:
"For consumers, pinkwashing makes it hard to arrive at an informed choice when making ethical purchases. In some cases, pinkwashing is also used to brand products which are bad for human health, including products which contain suspected carcinogens!
Some activists have suggested putting an end to branded tie-ins altogether, and asking consumers to donate directly to breast cancer charities and research organizations. Others argue that the availability of such products makes it possible for people who would not normally donate to give to the cause. In other words, if you're going to purchase yogurt anyway, you might as well purchase yogurt that benefits breast cancer patients, but you might not send a donation independently.
Consider this, from another article on AOL Health where a breast cancer survivor weighs in on whether pink product overload has gone too far:
"Mike’s Hard Lemonade Co., for example, has turned their alcoholic drink pink, and will make a $250,000-contribution to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation this year. We’re talking alcohol here – and research shows that as little as one to two drinks a day can up the risk of diagnosis. Yoplait was another past offender, promoting their Save Lids to Save Lives program while making their yogurt with rBGH, the possibly-cancer-causing artificial growth hormone given to cows. Yoplait has come around, and their yogurt is now rBGH-free -- thanks to an online campaign by Think Before You Pink, a project of Breast Cancer Action calling for more accountability by companies and increased responsibility by consumers."
So that's a lesson for both consumers AND corporations/marketers.

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