Breast Cancer Awareness or Pink-washing? Is there an app for that?

Posted on October 11, 2013


It’s October, which means Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back at Starbucks and everything is pink — for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As I watched last Sunday’s NFL games last week, I wondered if there was a color saturation issue on the HDTV. My fellow football fans assured me that the players were in fact, wearing pink shoes and the refs were really throwing pink flags (although they’ve since sensibly returned the flags to their original yellow).

Since then, a number of marketing stories have caught my eye. First, the NFL was flagged for “pink-washing.” Then, an ad agency turned a highway into a pink ribbon. I’m all for breast cancer awareness and innovative marketing. This highway thing is very cool; and whether or not it makes a positive impact on cancer awareness, the NFL caught my attention.

But does all of this make a difference in the fight against breast cancer? Are people donating more money to cancer foundations because the Broncos are sporting pink shoes?

If I support the cause by buying pink ribbon-themed products, how am I supposed to know where that money goes and if it’s making a difference? I found one “Think Before You Pink” site that aims to share this kind of information – although it seems a little sensationalist.

Just some honest questions from a consumer here. Do you have any helpful tips? Where should I donate? Does buying “pink” products even help a little bit? Is there an app for that?