October is breast cancer awareness month and many companies use this opportunity to contribute to the cause and to educate their customers about breast cancer prevention.
Some companies also try to cash in, and generously put, they seek to do well by doing good. They place pink ribbons on their products and in their ads to give well-meaning consumers an added incentive to buy their products. This is called “cause marketing.”
Those who track these promotions say that consumers should “Think Before You Pink“.
*MOUSE PRINT: Don’t assume that the mere purchase of the product will result in a substantial contribution to breast cancer causes, or any contribution at all. You have to read the details.
Eureka once put a sticker on their LiteSpeed vacuums proclaiming that they “will make a contribution to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation with every LiteSpeed sold.*” According to Breast Cancer Action, their actual donation was only $1 per vacuum, and those models could sell for upwards of $200.
Sun Chips snacks sport the pink ribbon, but require you to visit their website and enter a special code from the package in order to trigger the company’s donation. Many people might just see the breast cancer information on the package and assume that a donation is triggered by the mere purchase of the item.
Viva towels requires you to redeem a particular coupon for an additional donation to be made.
Campbell’s has put the pink ribbon on two of their soups in Kroger stores, and the cans are flying off the shelf, doubling in sales. The donation: about 3.5 cents per can. (All told, on sales of seven million cans, Campbell’s will donate $250,000.) Certainly that is a substantial sum, but still only a few pennies per can.
Mouse Print* is not suggesting that you shouldn’t buy these products, nor that companies should stop making such contributions. Rather, just be aware that less than you think may actually be going to the cause, and you may have to do more than just buy the product to trigger the contribution.