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The Pink Ribbon Campaign – The Untold Story

We all know about the pink ribbon campaign.  A large variety of companies have taken up the cause represented by the pink ribbons, and more recently, the colour pink on its own.

Pink Ribbon Campaign

This campaign is aimed at funding research to find a cure for breast cancer.  We all know women who have been faced with this terrifying disease, many of them having had to confront the illness on more than one occasion.  It’s saddening, frightening and maddening all at the same time.  I know a few people who have been faced with breast cancer.  Knowing that, I have no hesitation in supporting research to cure this illness.

So, why should you think twice?

There’s no doubt in my mind that there is value in funding research into any disease or illness that plagues our society.  Breast cancer, unfortunately, is one of those.  The rub is that many of the companies who adopt the pink ribbon campaign also make products that use ingredients that could contribute to breast cancer or promote a lifestyle that is not the healthiest.

For example, last October, Mike’s Hard Lemonade came out with a Pink Hard Lemonade in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Another strange application of the pink ribbon campaign is  KFC’s pink bucket campaign.  Really?  A fast food chain that sells junk food is supporting the pink ribbon campaign?  I applaud the effort, but how about taking it one step further and selling food that will promote a healthier lifestyle?  For me, it just doesn’t add up.

This practice is called Pink Washing.  It is the practice of companies supporting the pink ribbon campaign while continuing to use or produce merchandise or other products that could be harmful to a breast cancer patient.

Pink Ribbons Inc.

Pink Ribbons Inc. is a new documentary, created by Montreal filmmaker Lea Pool at the request of the National Film Board.

In this article, published in the Montreal Gazette on January 27, 2012, we get an advance view of this new documentary.  The write tells us that we will learn about companies like Estee Lauder and AVON which both support the pink ribbon campaign while continuing to produce and sell makeup that uses questionable ingredients.

Breast Cancer and Pinkwashing both receive a lot of attention during the month of October.  That is breast cancer awareness month and we are all bombarded with information from both fundraisers and awareness raisers about the campaign.  However, even as I walked through the mall last week or listened to the radio, I heard and saw advertisements for opportunities to support the pink ribbon campaign.  I heard advertisements for the Weekend to End Women’s Cancers…already! It’s never ending.  The good news is that this new documentary opens soon.  Look for Pink Ribbons, Inc. in Canadian theatres Feb. 3 and in the U.S. in April.  I expect it to be informative and eye opening.


Please don’t get me wrong.  I’m all for fundraising to find cures for breast cancer and all of the other terrible disease that have taken or affected those close to us.  In order to fully support that cause, I simply need to know that my fundraising dollars are being handled in the most transparent way. To me, that means that the companies who promote and participate in the pink ribbon campaign need to ensure they themselves are not doing anything that is counter to the purpose of the fundraising.



The Fundraiser Was a Success!

I just got in from the fundraiser.

There was a crowd of 80+ attendees and there were tons of raffle prizes and silent auction items.  The auction items ranged from Oakley sunglasses to cosmetics to a gift certificate for coaching on how to use social media for your small business.  Given the variety of items, each auction item stood on its own.

I`m pleased to say that the gift basket I put together got several bids and went for a fair price in the end.  It was quite a great feeling to see that people who don`t even know me were interested in the basket.

Even better is that all of the funds raised will go toward the Weekend to End Women`s Cancers.  It`s a great cause and I`m so happy that I could contribute.


The Art of Packaging

Today’s the day!  The fundraiser is tonight and I’m putting the finishing touches on the packaging.

Packaging is really what will peak someone’s interest.  It’s like the cover on a book.  If it is enticing, people will pick it up and have a look.  If not, they’ll pass.  Today, my challenge is to ensure that each package looks great!

The free giveaways are easy.  They just have to hold the product well and be easy to carry.  For those, I chose a medium-sized take out box.  The box will keep everything up right and prevent the products from sloshing and bumping around.  Each box has a spiced hand scrub, either a balm for the feet or for the hands, and one of a lip or lip conditioner.  I also have a giveaway prize dedicated to the bath tub.  It’s got a tub of scented bath salts and a scented bath oil.  Perfect for a relaxing bath.  The tub was a bit big for the box, so that went in a plain white bag.

The silent auction item requires a bit more effort.  In order to bid, people will need

to know exactly what is inside and be motivated to place a bid.  I chose a basket for this, all to be decorated with ribbon and then enclosed in plastic to keep it all together.  This should allow people to check everything out and make in informed bid.  I also put together an information sheet, so they can read about the products and know what is in each one.  This basket has nine items:  Bath Salts, Bath Oil, Lavender Mist, Citrus Mist, Lip Balm, Lip Conditioner, Spiced Hand Scrub, Foot Cream, and a Hand Balm.  It`s the Ultimate Pampering Gift Basket.