The Smartest Pink for Your Green
October’s here, and with it aisles of overflowing candy corn, pumpkin-flavored just-about-anything, and costume stores on every corner. And among the ubiquitous orange and black, you can’t miss the canvas of bright pink that’s sprung up in all the same places for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
But before you toss that neon pink pumpkin-carving set into your cart—thinking you’re doing a good thing—take a closer look. More and more, corporations are profiting off of “cause marketing.” Read: you think the money you’re spending is going to help a cause, but in fact, it’s just a way for companies to sell more of their product. Many of those ribbon-adorned bracelets, compacts, and coffee mugs you see only donate a very small portion of the proceeds to breast cancer charities—if anything at all.
No, I’m not saying corporations are evil for capitalizing on a growing public trend—they’re in business to make money and to create products consumers want. And every product with a pink ribbon on it is free publicity for the awareness campaign. Retailers have arguably helped drive one of the most successful marketing campaigns in history in terms of bringing attention to a cause, regardless of the actual dollars raised. It’s impossible to quantify the impact those efforts have had on consumers’ charitable (or health-related) decision-making.
Of course, if you really want to give to a cause, the best way to provide financial support is to donate straight to the source. But buying products isn’t a bad option—sporting those bright pink accessories can spread awareness and boast your intentions (and hey, they are pretty cute). Just be a smart shopper: If you want to know what’s really happening with your money, check the label to see if an actual organization is listed as a beneficiary (if there isn’t one listed, it’s highly likely that it’s not a charitable buy). And do your research to see what percentage of the proceeds are actually donated.
But, good products are out there! For starters, here are a few of our favorites that are worthwhile purchases:
If you’d like to search for more products that truly support breast cancer, check out the Breast Cancer Foundation’s website. It provides hundreds of options—from fashion items to automotive gear—and better yet, it details exactly how much of the profit is donated and what organization it specifically benefits.
Bottom line: Be a smart consumer. When you spot an item on your shopping list that’s now available in bright pink, check the fine print and make the purchase with more than just good intentions.
Read more from The Daily Muse's Breast Cancer Awareness series.
Michaella is a recovering investment banker (turned equity analyst), a World Champion equestrian, and a non-profit executive-wannabe. When she’s not working, she’s typically spending time with her Italian famiglia, day-dreaming about her next trip abroad, or baking/devouring red velvet cake. She is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Denver and holds a BS and MS in Finance.More from this Author