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Pinkshaming the Pinkwashers of Pinktober 2015

13 Oct



October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

If you are a regular reader of my blog then you know my main pink peeve it the marketing of all things pink to support those affected by breast cancer. Pinkwashing. It makes me nuts that companies will spend more on the Pinktober marketing budget than the donation (if any!) to a breast cancer charity. Companies have been marketing pink items since August and some are promising to donate a portion of sales to a breast cancer organization. Some companies just market pink items for the heck of it.  Here are a few Pinkwashers I’d like to Pinkshame this season:

Need some Pink Pepper Spray? Here ya go!  Found this one at BassPro Shop.  I did not see any beneficiary of this on the packaging, but BassPro does give 20% of their
“Hunt for the Cure” proceeds to  Yep. Hunt for the Cure.  I wonder if Komen will go after them for the use of their trademarked “for the Cure” slogan.


Michael’s Craft Stores have a big-honkin’ pink display and tagging the items with Team Hope.



Michaels craft stores are marketing their pink items under Team Hope.












I visited the Michaels website and did not see anything regarding Team Hope. I typed “Team Hope” into the search bar and no products were found to match my search. I scrolled to the bottom of the Michaels webpage to look for any charitable alliances and found nothing. There is no charitable alliance noted on any of the Team Hope packaging. I think it is safe to say that none of this pink product money is going toward any breast cancer organization.  Pppfffttthhhhtttt.

These next pink items were found at the checkout at one of my fave crack dens –  Five Below.





The laces are packaged with “Walk of Hope” and the mirrors are packed with “Reflections of Hope”


I visited the Five Below website and was pleased to see a tab on Philanthropy.  Nothing was found regarding a donation to breast cancer charities, but they do align themselves with Alex’s Lemonade Stand and St. Jude Children’s Hospital.  The packing of these items do not indicate any charitable intentions with the sale of these products.  Ppppffftthhht.

One organization doing Pinktober the right way is the NFL and their Crucial Catch campaign.  If you are a football fan, then you have seen the pink accessories and signage at the games this month. The NFL is aligned with the American Cancer Society and promotes what each of the 32 NFL teams are doing this month to promote breast cancer awareness.

The Arizona Cardinals is having Gloria Gaynor sing “I Will Survive” accompanied by 175 breast cancer survivors and their cheerleaders. Not joking.

I did not see any outright dollar amount for a donation, but the NFL indicated that pink items worn by players will be auctioned off with proceeds going to ACS.

Pink skull cap worn at game.  Anyone?

Pink skull cap worn at game. Anyone?


Stay tuned for more pink-shaming!  And go get your mammogram! xoxo



Walking On Deck for a Cure

12 Aug





Walkathon on a cruise ship – why not? Great idea!

Our family recently went on a cruise, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that a walkathon was happening while on board!  We received a flyer in our stateroom promoting the “On Deck for a Cure” walk that raised money for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.


WalkathonMaven was intrigued, and checked out the logistics of the event.

 Walkathon Route – Promenade Deck! One mile around = 2.5 laps. All right turns. No police needed for street crossings!

Registration – Wheelhouse Bar on Deck 7. Each participant is asked to contribute a minimum of $15 that will be charged to the onboard account. No money handling! Participants received an “on Deck for a Cure” baseball cap and refreshments.

Transportation/Parking – none needed! Participants are culled from GenPop. GenPop is jailspeak, I hear,  for General Population, but you know what I mean!

Entertainment – none. This tradeoff with the ability to walk with an alcoholic umbrella drink makes up for it.

First Aid – onboard infirmary

Snacks and refreshments – Deck 15 buffet!

Volunteer NeedsShip crew

So where does the money go? I found that Princess Cruises and Komen have had a partnership since 2007, and The Foundation donates 75 percent of each registration fee to Komen for the Cure, with a minimum guaranteed donation of $450,000 through 2014.

The crew was unable to tell me how much was raised during our voyage. It appeared that several dozen people took part in the walk. I watched them while sitting and sipping inside the Fusion nightclub during the afternoon bingo session. (I lost – again.)

The Princess Cruises Community Foundation website noted the response from passengers was nothing short of amazing. Over 11,000 vacationers spent a portion of their holiday time on board walking in support of breast cancer research.

I applaud the cruise line for doing a charitable good deed with a captive audience at sea! Our cruise was to Alaska and I highly recommend this for your family. Go see the glaciers before they are gone!




Rebranding the Avon Walk

31 Mar


The walk previously known as the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer wants you to know that they have rebranded into the Avon39.  So why the change?  I think that there was some confusion about the breast cancer multi-day walks.  Currently, there is a 2-day that used to be a 3-day and a completely different 3-day event. Here is the Avon statement regarding the rebranding:

AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer. Formerly known as the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, the AVON 39 series is kicking off its 13th season with a refreshed look, but the same steadfast commitment to eradicate breast cancer. The 2015 weekend events take place in seven cities from April to October.

There are a couple nationwide breast cancer multi-day walks out there – Avon and Komen. What’s the diff?

If you want to walk 39 miles in 2 days and raise a minimum of $1800 – then you may like the former Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, now the Avon39.

Old logo

Old logo

VERY old logo. Confused yet?

VERY old logo. Confused yet?


If you want to walk 60 miles in 3 days and raise a minimum of $2300 –  then you should check out the Susan G. Komen 3Day walk, now presented by Bank of America. Interesting that the BOA logo is now part of the event logo.  I poked around to see how much that cost but only found a little small-print-info on the pu-pu platter of pink offerings (credit card, donation amount per card to Komen) from their websites.


FYI: The previous Chief Mission Office with Komen has just left to be the CEO of Lance Armstrong’s LIVESTRONG charity.  I wonder how she will rebrand LIVESTRONG to make us forget the face of their doping founder, Lance.  Good luck with that!

Mother Jones posted an article about how Avon wants you to know that they are not Komen.   These folks are so very serious about their  brands that they have purchased ads on search engines like google and yahoo.  Type in “breast cancer walk” and see what ads pops up first on search results.  I wrote about the Avon walk last spring when they were in Boston, with all the deets on where the money goes. Not sure how much they pay for advertising.

So what to do if you want to support breast cancer awareness but do not want to walk for 3 days or 39 miles?  There is a nationwide event called Making Strides Against Breast Cancer that has no fundraising minimum and you walk for only 5 miles.  In an out in a few hours instead of a few days. strdies

The fundraising pipeline is full of several other breast-cancer-focused events nationwide raising money to eradicate this disease.  Here is an article in the Boston Business Journal outlining the Boston area breast-walks and their impact. Someday we won’t need them (fingers crossed), but until then the branding folks will do their best to help us keep it straight.


The Hunt for Pink October

28 Oct


pink fumes


The month of October is winding down, and so is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

November is Diabetes Awareness month, yet I have not seen any purple (I think that is their color) items for sale promoting the cause. November is also the official month for many other organizations:

Pancreatic Awareness Month

Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Prematurity Awareness Month

Epilepsy Awareness Month

Some of these organizations have walkathons, and some promote their cause thru other activities.

A fun November event is Movenmber. Men (and some women too, I guess) are encouraged to grow facial hair to bring awareness to men’s health.   I hope they have a walkathon someday, because I have a feeling that would be a fun one to attend! movember


Movember participants are encouraged to become a Mo Sista or a Mo Bro and raise money for the Movember Foundation.  I checked with Charity Navigator and they are unrated. Not sure what they do with the money, but I love the unique concept.

I came upon a big-honkin-pink display at Bed Bath and Beyond.  I had no idea there were so many items using pink to sell their products!  Take a lookie:

pink toothbrush!

pink toothbrush!




pressure cookers! TicTacs, tweezers, ice compresse, pillow, curler, tumblers and pens!


Eos for lips, airline carry ons, binder clips and spatulas!













I hope all the money made from these pink items makes it to the right place, and by right place I mean a place that supports breast health.   Off to November!  I wonder if we will see fake moustaches for sale!



Think before you Pink

8 Oct



Thanks to my readers, I have been forwarded another pu-pu-platter of redonk pink products that use Breast Cancer Awareness month to promote their brand.

Our local PF Chang’s was in the paper for painting their big-honkin-horse pink for breast cancer awareness month.  If you buy a pink sushi roll or take a selfie with the pink horse, they will donate money to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.




Valvoline will help you pimp-out your car with pink wiper blades with their Change your Blades Change a Life campaign.  They also give money to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.


Our friends in the NFL are promoting the A Crucial Catch campaign this month.   Many players are wearing pink shoes, towels and head wraps to promote the cause. The NFL is partnering with the American Cancer Society and have listed what  each NFL team is doing this month to promote breast cancer awareness. This is a pretty impressive list of activities that each team is involved in. Check it out.nflacs_1


The month is young! Keep sending me the shameless pink promoters!








October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

1 Oct



Happy October! Be prepared for falling leaves, cooler weather and the retail world using the color pink to sell merchandise!

I like to start the month by getting a mammogram.  I went today for my annual breast-squishing and it was lovely. Not really, but early detection is the best protection. Go Git-er-done!

As I mentioned above, ’tis the season for the retail world to use the color pink, and the issue of breast cancer to make money. I have come upon a few of these merchants in the past week and I’ll share with you my findings on how much money (if any) they are giving to the cause.


Here is what I found at my local BJs in the September.  Just like Halloween candy in August, and Christmas decorations in October – this vendor got a jump on the pink stuff. West Coast Novelty group proudly displays that they will give $100K to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation regardless of sales.   I LOVE that they are upfront about the donation! I think that ALL retailers using a color or a cause to sell merchandise should indicate on the packaging how much they are giving and the exact name of the organization they are giving to.  Charity Navigator gives the BCRF a four-star rating.  That’s good.


I saw this promotion in the Sunday newspaper and received an email a few times this past weekend.  Sports Authority is selling pink stuff to support breast cancer awareness month. I clicked thru the link that they offered to find out about preventing breast cancer.  No mention on a monetary donation or breast cancer organization was indicated.  Just buy the pink stuff offered by Wilson, Nike, Columbia, New Era, Gaiam, etc..  The Sports Authority Sport Your Pink promotion is clearly just an awareness (read: marketing) campaign.


One of my fave online retailers, Lands End, sent out this email this week indicating their Pink Thread Project and partnership with  According to their website: From totes and towels to cardigans and shirts – through October 31, 2014, when you apply one of six pink thread icons on any Lands’ End item that can be embroidered, 75% of the $6.00 embroidery application fee will be donated to 

Being a mathematician, I computed that 75% of $6 is $4.50.  I found some small print and read that the donation will be up to $10,000.  I like the generous amount of the donation, and wonder if their marketing plan costs are more than the actual donation.   Charity Navigator gives four stars to

I’m sure to see more of these pink promotions this month and I look forward to sharing with you!

Best of luck this weekend to my pals at the Boston Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk!  May Mutha Nature be smiling on you!



Pink in the News

9 Jan



Pink is in the news.

No, not the dynamic performer with the amazing estro-abs (who I did happen to see in concert last month) – but some pink events that raise money for the fight against breast cancer.

Today, I read an article in the NPQ about how the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation had a 22% drop in income last fiscal year. They made $77 million less than the previous year.  Yeowza! Due to this decrease, they had to cut $50 million from breast cancer research and public health education.  That is a huge bummer. Why did they lose so much money? Several reasons, including some bad funding decisions regarding Planned Parenthood and the revelation of the Chief Executive’s big-honkin’ compensation. I wrote all about it here a few months ago.  

Many Komen constituents got angry and stopped participating in fundraising events and stopped making charitable contributions to the organization.  Who really got hurt here?  For starters, the breast cancer researchers who depend on organizations like Komen to fund the research that will hopefully find a cure for this disease.  Second, the men and women who are not getting educated about the need for early detection. Without a cure, early detection is the best prevention.  So there ya go.

Other pink news, locally, for me is the publicity machine that has started for the Boston Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.  For the low-low price of $1850 ($50 registration plus $1800 minimum fundraising requirement) you can participate in this weekend-long walk. So what is an Avon Walk?  Their website says what they are, and are-not:

“The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer is a national series of 39-mile weekend fundraising events launched in 2003 by the Avon Foundation.

The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer event series is a project of the Avon Foundation for Women and is not affiliated with any other breast cancer organizations or programs such as Susan G. Komen for the Cure, American Cancer Society, or Breast Cancer Research Foundation.”

I wondered where the money goes that is raised by the Avon Foundation and found this:

“Avon Foundation brings this mission to life through two key areas: breast cancer and domestic violence. The Avon Breast Cancer Crusade launched in 1992, and Avon breast cancer programs in more than 55 countries support advancing access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer, with a focus on the medically underserved and uninsured. Funding is awarded to beneficiaries ranging from leading cancer centers to community-based breast health programs for awareness and education; screening and diagnosis; access to treatment; support services; and scientific research.”

For more info – check it out here.


Let’s hope that there is not any controversy with the Avon Foundation so that more money can go toward the programs and services that were cut by Komen.

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Running on pink fumes

29 Oct




Pinktober is coming to an end, but the pink marketing machines are still rolling.

In my Sunday paper, I noticed that Proctor and Gamble included their multi-page pink coupon insert. It appears that P&G partnered with the National Breast Cancer Foundation.


I visited the P&G and NBCF websites, and found no information about any monetary donations.  This smells like a pink promotion opportunity. One of the items is a pink Swiffer sweeper.  Walmart is probably the largest customer of P&G products, and they have store displays of the pink Swiffer accompanied with a Walmart employee that is a breast cancer survivor.  On these displays is the website Cleaning for a Reason.    According to their website “Breast Cancer Awareness Month creates a natural opportunity for Cleaning for a Reason to raise awareness of their mission to ease the burden of household chores for women.”

Allotta money was spent on the production of these coupon inserts and store displays.  I’m sad to see that there is no monetary donation included in this. Especially since this pink promotion involves Walmart and P&G – two gigantic companies.


Yoplait yogurt is once again running their lid promotion to benefit Komen.   Apparently, you can save your lids to save lives. Who knew? Peel-off your spoogy-yogurt-covered lid and place it into an envelope for mailing.  Some poor intern has to open these envelopes and count these lids.  While I doubt this actually happens, I hope that this poor intern is wearing rubber gloves.

According to their website: General Mills will donate 10 cents to Susan G. Komen® for each lid received (and also for each code entered from select Yoplait products) by 6/30/14. Maximum total donation of up to $1,500,000


The NPQ had a good article titled The Economics of Pinkwashing at the NFL: Straw on the Camel’s Back?    This was an enlightening read about how much money is actually given to the American Cancer Society from all of the pink NFL merchandise.  “for every $100 spent on the pink stuff sold through the NFL’s breast cancer initiative, the American Cancer Society only receives $11.25″   Boooooo. Shame.

I visited the Charity Navigator website.  There are 27 organizations that are registered with Breast Cancer in their name or mission.  Of these 27, Eleven are ranked highest at 4 star and four are ranked as a zero star.  Too many organization are using pink to raise money.  It is my pleasure to call them out.

Here is what a breast cancer survivor thinks about pinkwashing.

BTW – November is Diabetes Awareness month.  I wonder what color is associated with that?





Pink Promotion machine

3 Oct



It is barely October, and the Pink Promotions are in full swing.  Many of you already know that my major pet-peeve is when companies use the pink ribbon to market their items, and give a small amount to a breast cancer cause.  I am convinced that they spend more on the marketing and pink packaging than they do on the donation.   I’m waiting to be proven wrong.  (yawn)

Here is a few that I have come upon this week:

Delta Airlines is having a competition for their “pics for a cure” campaign to encourage Facebook folks to upload their fave pink-spirited photos.  Winners are decided by the number of votes and they will get a $20K donation to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation in their name. If the winner gets more that 20,000 votes, then Delta will donate $40K to the BCRF.



Lane Bryant is selling pink ribbon apparel, with 10% of the sales going to the American Cancer Society.  According to their website, they hope to raise $700K for ACS.  I like how they rolled-in the texting option for an instant donation.

lane brayant


Here is an Energizer promotion I found in my Sunday paper.  Who knew that buying batteries could help fight breast cancer?  That little Energizer bunny is very busy. That pink bunny has a website to let consumers know that they have given $3 million to Susan G Komen since 2005, including $150,000 in 2013.



And here is the BIG BOOB award for their shameless self promotion using breast cancer to raise money:

Work Out World ad

Work Out World ad

Work Out World is running commercials indicating that they will donate $1 per new member to breast cancer awareness.  I visited their website and no recipient is noted.    Pfttttttthhhht.

Finally, here is a great article in The Chronicle of Philanthropy about how consumers that buy charity-related product want results.  Interesting that they noted that 54% of consumers bought a charity-related product last year. 

Good luck to my pals this weekend in Boston for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk!


Goodbye purple, hello pink!

30 Sep




goodbye September

sugar with a purpose


Breast Cancer Awareness Month officially starts tomorrow, October 1.   This means that World Alzheimer’s month (September) is coming to an end.  Goodbye to the purple sprinkle donuts I would see at my local Dunkin Donuts.

According to the Alzheimer’s  website: “At least 32% of the purchase price from a single or  dozen Purple With A Purpose donuts will be donated to The DDBRCF to benefit the  Alzheimer’s Association.”  I saw that DDBRCF stands for Dunkin Donut Baskin-Robbins Community Foundation. I had no idea that the donut and ice cream folks were married!  Who knew? I hope they have a good dental plan there!

Here are some Pink Promotions I found in my local Bed, Bath and Beyond:

pink2 pink1

This bottom photo is of the back of a Pink Piggy calendar. Nothing says Breast Cancer Awareness to me more than a pink piggy calendar.  Oy.  Sales of this pink schlock will go toward the $30,000 donation the printer makes to Susan G Komen for the Cure.

I found an additional pink display of quilts, with proceeds going to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

pink6 pink7

Morgan Home, the manufacturer of these quilts, is giving $1.00 per quilt – with a maximum of $10,000 to the BCRF.


I commend both of these manufacturers for indicating exactly how much they will be donating to their chosen breast cancer charity.  I would still love to know if the cost of the pink packaging was more than the actual donation.

Things that make you go Hmmm.