Not Everyone is Thrilled With All of the Pink


It may be one of the most well-known charity marketing campaigns of all time, but not all patient advocates are thrilled with splashes of pink everywhere every October.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, as you surely know by now.

Patient advocates complain that Susan G. Komen For the Cure and other breast-cancer-related charities are “sugarcoating” the disease, and are turning it into a marketing opportunity and an excuse to go shopping.

Granted, all of that alleged sugarcoating, marketing and shopping are resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars being raised for breast cancer research and awareness, but that doesn’t seem to make much of a difference.

The critics remind us — just as the charities with which they seem to have a problem do — that breast cancer kills 40,000 women and 450 men each year.   No matter how much pink you cover things with, I don’t know how you sugarcoat stats like that.

And if what they’re doing is raising much-needed awareness and inspiring women to get mammograms to do self-exams regularly, lives are surely being saved.

So what’s the problem?

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.


  • My objections to the pink is the lack of information the public gets regarding where the millions of dollars are going. And with all the millions raised why are we not hearing more breakthroughs in the breast cancer issue? Is the money doing any good, in fact? If so, lets hear about it.

    Secondly, as awful as breast cancer is, its not the prime killer of women. We all know heart disease is, yet where is the mass media on this issue? Perhaps hearts are not as beloved in America as are breasts?

    Thirdly, I tire of America’s love of fads. Putting professional ball players in pink shoes (and how much did they cost?) is just absurd. That money could have gone to research and done a lot more good, I suspect.

    So, again, lets see some results from the millions raised. This is hardly a new issue in the medical world.

    • @Viking “Perhaps hearts are not as beloved in America as are breasts.”

      I think you hit the nail on the head there. LOL

      To both @Viking and @psalm23 : February is National Heart Month. I don’t know how many organizations are behind this (other than the American Heart Association). But I wonder if we will see charities start champing at the bit to do with heart disease what Komen and others have done with breast cancer.

      If there’s a dollar to be made, I’m sure we will.

      • @patricksplace@Viking@psalm23

        You are correct on all counts but especially heart disease. I am fortunate to be knowledgeable about the heart – both as an EMT and that is the most common big emergency call to go on – and as a person with myotonic muscular dystrophy – I have to get my heart checked every year as part of my annual physical to make sure the disease does not attack my heart.

        Sports players in pink shoes. I am scarred for life just picturing that. How stupid.

        Then again, that sums up the marketing folks who are pushing this pink thing just a little too far.

  • For once I will give you a one sentence answer (take note!): Yes, this is an overdone marketing campaign for far too many companies.

  • The main issues I’ve heard that folks have with the pink campaigns is that they believe that we are already all aware of breast cancer so they see no need to join in with the “breast cancer awareness”. I guess I can see that point.

    I think, perhaps, a campaign for simple donations to the cause might be in order at this point rather than selling more pink items. Perhaps this wouldn’t result in as much money being generated – I really don’t know – but it is a thought.

    • @eeyore17026 (aka Strange) True, but how do you stop a company from selling whatever it wants connected to whatever cause it thinks can generate additional income? (Even if it gives all proceeds from pink-related sales away as it promises, it’s still a marketing opportunity to bring in customers.) Is it truly fair to stop a business from taking advantage of such a chance?

  • The problems I have with this campaign are:1) I don’t need more stuff. 2) I especially don’t want anything pink.3) I know that not all the money I might spend buying pink stuff doesn’t actually go to research. Much of it simply has to go to marketing and so forth.4) This one is complicated: no one in my family has had breast cancer. We tend toward the unsexy diseases: renal failure, heart problems, diabetes, stroke, Parkinson’s/MSA, autoimmune stuff…. Somehow, research is getting done, breakthroughs are made, in those areas without all the hoopla that surrounds breast cancer. 5) And by the way, the NUMBER ONE KILLER OF WOMEN isn’t cancers (plural–all kinds), it’s heart disease!

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