October 07, 2023

Blue Light Special

Breast cancer is not the most common kind of cancer or the largest killer of women. It only seems that way because we are drowning in the pink froth and foam of October. Five times as many people are diagnosed with skin cancer as are with breast cancer; twice as many are diagnosed with lung cancer as with breast cancer; and more people die of colorectal cancer than of breast cancer. So why has the pink ribbon become the cause celeb?

Companies gravitate to pink because it makes them see green: cash. Like a two-for-one sale, or a blue light special, pink ribbons are a marketing tactic that naïve consumers fall for. Plain and simple, cause related marketing leads to higher sales for companies. (If companies were truly concerned about giving to cancer they could engage in quiet philanthropy, just as we consumers are able to donate to good organizations by writing checks instead of buying pink M&Ms.)

So why do companies promote breast cancer marketing instead of skin or lung cancer marketing? Easy, women are more gullible when it comes to buying crap we don’t really need in the name of a good cause. A study on cause related marketing showed that women are more likely than men to purchase products from companies that support charitable causes. Were it the other way around, you can bet that we’d all know that June is Male Cancer Awareness Month. (FYI - The folks up top are demonstrating on a sidewalk in London the male deaths from prostate cancer.)

Do you like buying pink ribbon gear? If so, let us know why?
Do you ever write checks for charitable cancer causes without getting anything in exchange?

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook


  1. Chelsie McG Says:
    October 7th, 2008 at 6:31 PM

    I think its pathetic when companies us an issue like breast cancer for their own personal gain. It makes them seem charitable which may attract buisness and thats exactly why they do it. But on the other hand it does promote awareness when big corporations “support” pink. So in a way its a catch 22.

  2. Martin Says:
    October 16th, 2008 at 7:26 AM

    The best Cancer add I have ever seen was an ad in England for an organization called, “Everyman” – it’s a male cancer awareness group funded by the UK government. The ad was a picture of a very attractive topless woman from her stomach to her neck, and that was it. Then, in tiny print on her chest, it said, “No wonder male cancer is ignored. These are all you every think about.” Then there was a paragraph on the bottom of the page that gave the stats on male cancer. I thought it was a great ad because it was dead on. Not that I am callous or uncaring about breast cancer – I do care, but I care about all cancer and I think breast cancer gets an undo amount of attention and funding in comparison to other cancers that have a worse mortality rate and affect a greater swath of people.

Leave a Comment