The little black dress, animal print, black pumps; there are some things that simply never go out of style. However there is a new trend the fashion industry has embraced, one that is not necessarily sartorially related.
Throughout the month of October some major industries, be they fashion, sports or automobile, take on the role of leading breast cancer awareness campaigns. Anything that can be made pink or have a pink ribbon printed attached is manufactured and sent out with the company’s logo plastered on it.
“Often these types of campaigns start off with the truest intentions of simply raising awareness and raising money for the cause,” said George Dassios, marketing faculty member and part-time professor at Concordia’s John Molson School of Business. “Eventually, as the momentum builds, it becomes one of those events where, as a corporation, you have the social and moral obligation to jump on board.”
When a company is highly influential it seems only natural that they would pursue these causes.
“Certainly, if you are a big organization that is in the spotlight and is part of a community, you have a social obligation to be active in one form or another through funding or sponsoring events or creating events that would, in one way or another, make that community better,” said Dassios.
Buying a shirt from Ralph Lauren’s Pink Pony campaign or that pretty bracelet from Michael Kors may make you feel like you’re doing something good, but it’s important to remain wary of where exactly your money is going once you pay.
“There’s always going to be an element or portion of the proceeds that will go to cover cost and some of the costs include [things not directly related to the cause],” explained Dassios. “To isolate it just in terms of the corporate community would be ignoring what goes on in every other organization.”
And while it is difficult to find a company which donates all of its proceeds to the fund being advertised, it is more important to watch out for organizations who are notorious for making money under the guise of fundraising.
According to “Think Before You Pink,” a Breast Cancer Action project, it was in 2010 that Dansko, a shoe company, was selling clogs with pink ribbons on them, in an effort to raise money for the Susan G. Komen foundation. However, it was discovered that Dansko was planning to donate $25,000 regardless of how much money was raised through clog sales, rather than give a portion of the purchases made.
These harsh realities should not dissuade you from donating money; they should inform us that there are scams out there and it is important to ask where your money is going if you do decide to donate or buy items for breast cancer awareness or research. The only sure fire way to make sure your money is going to help those with breast cancer is to donate directly to hospitals or research societies.