When Breast Cancer Pink is a Scam

Pink Breast Cancer Marketing

You want to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so on your next trip to the grocery store, you opt for the toilet paper or the bottle of bleach that comes with a pink ribbon. Even if it’s a little more, it’s all for a good cause, right?


What many people don’t realize is that some companies are exploiting the pink ribbon for marketing purposes. They know that October is when everyone will be thinking about supporting breast cancer research and they place that pink ribbon on their products. Yes, it’s a manner of promoting awareness, but don’t throw away your hard earned dollars before you get the details.

Everyone is going pink for October, but that doesn’t necessarily mean money is being raised for cancer research. After all, it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, not Research Month. That means that anyone can put a cute ribbon on their products or even produce specialty pink products without actually donating anything. While this isn’t against the law or anything, many shoppers are being fooled into thinking that their purchase makes a difference.

So, how can you avoid one of these breast cancer scams? If you know what to watch for, you can choose the products that really do make a difference. Don’t just assume that the pink ribbon means part of your purchase goes to breast cancer research or funding.

  • Pay attention to the label. If a company is actually using the pink ribbon for a real reason, they will name the organization they donate to on their packaging. How much per product is donated should also be listed.
  • Look at the website. Since most product manufacturers have a web presence these days, it’s a relatively simple matter to look at their website and see if they are running any promotions that involve donations. If the label on the actual product doesn’t say much, you should be able to find everything you need to know online.
  • Check the BBB. The Better Business Bureau offers information on companies that appear to be gathering funds for donation. You will also find more tips for avoiding pink ribbon scams on the site.

So, the next time you’re in the supermarket, facing an array of breast cancer awareness products, remember to dig a little deeper. You want to be sure that they are doing what you think they’re doing  . . . don’t be another of the fooled masses.

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