Published on March 8th, 2013


Pink Ribbon Doesn’t Always Indicate A Healthy Buy

By Theresa Sullivan Barger
Contributing Writer

Pinkwashing, pinkification, pinktober. Whatever you call it, slapping a pink ribbon on a product is big business. It’s called “cause messaging” and it sells – boosting potential revenues by millions, according to at least one study.

But should breast cancer research foundations accept donations from companies selling unhealthy products that could harm the very people they are trying to help? The companies may get a boost from the pink labels, but some say the foundations should be more discerning about the health effects the products could have on consumers, especially those struggling with cancer. Here are five examples of companies that have offered pink ribbon promotions. (UPDATE: And now there is a sixth example. Texas-based Baker Hughes, a fracking company, will be painting and distributing 1,000 hot pink drill bits this month as part of its “Doing out Bit for the Cure” campaign and will donate $100,000 to Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure at the Oct. 26 final Pittsburgh Steelers “pink-out” football game. Fracking, critics point out, is a natural gas and oil drilling process that could add harmful chemicals to water supplies.

Going pink gives caffeinated lemonade highly charged sales boost

LemonadeLiving Essentials announced this month it was going to continue its support for breast cancer awareness for a third year. It first launched its Pink Lemonade 5-Hour ENERGY campaign in 2012, marketing the drink to women and raising more than $350,00 for the Avon Foundation for Women. The company renewed its commitment to the cause in September, announcing it would support Living Beyond Breast Cancer for the second year in a row, donate 5 cents for every sale of a limited edition pink lemonade flavor 5-Hour.

Living Essentials is under scrutiny by the FDA along with other energy drink companies after reports of 13 deaths within four years and 30 injuries that may be linked to high caffeine levels in the drinks and three states have brought lawsuits against the company.


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