Saturday, October 20, 2012

Cause-Related Marketing: October and Pink Products

When First Lady Betty Ford talked publicly about her battle with breast cancer in 1974, she broke down barriers and encouraged dialogues that have continued to this day. Would she have been amazed at the blossoming of pink products offered through cause-related marketing to raise money for breast cancer research and education?

A quick search for "pink cancer products" brings up more than 47 million results. They range from Master Lock's pink locks (above) to NFL football jerseys and everything in between. Walk down almost any aisle in the supermarket and you'll see pink products. Many retailers (such as Staples) have pink products for sale, as well.

Yet some research shows that consumers are skeptical about how much this river of pink actually benefits the cause. On the one hand, 86% of those who responded to a Cone Communication survey said they have a more positive perception of firms that support breast cancer awareness/research. On the other hand, 77% of respondents believed that firms get involved with cause-related marketing “solely for corporate gain.” The study also indicates that people are overwhelmed by the huge number of pink offers.

To improve transparency, both Susan G. Komen For The Cure and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation have established specific guidelines for firms to use in disclosing the level and purpose of their pink product fundraising. For example, if purchasing a pink product triggers a financial donation, the tag should say that (and how much the firm is donating). If purchasing a pink product raises money for cause awareness, the label should say that.

Buy a pink cause-related product next time you're shopping, and help raise money to fight breast cancer.

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