In this episode I present you with evidence of a “bait-and-switch” type of pinkwashing that is all to common with companies cashing in on Breast Cancer merchandise while making the consumer think that they are doing this for the cause.
Exhibit A: Nine West’s “Runway Relief” to support Fashion Targets Breast Cancer.
Pretty nice, isn’t it? It’s cool, it’s multi-cultural (sort-of), heck, even I want one of those t-shirts. You can sponsor models! Or donate money! Horray for Nine West! Until you look at the fine print at the bottom:
See, what’s happening is that they will donate money for every step their models take their “Runway Relief” boot (off the runway, of course), Nine West will donate to Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, but only up to $225,000. So, the company is only paying for a limited number of steps (but they encourage you to sponsor a model,) while reaping the advertising rewards and positive PR for their products.
The second part is even more insidious. You have the opportunity to shop for the cause by buying a “Runway Relief” tank or a pair of Jet Jeans and all the proceeds will go to FTBC. Up to $42,000. Will they stop selling the clothes when they reach their donation limit? No. Will they tell you when you make a purchase whether your money is part of the total donation or if it will just go in to the company coffers? No.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the donations that companies make to breast cancer research.* But Nine West will profit from this promotion a hell of a lot more than the pittance they will give away. This is an international, multi-million dollar corporation that is donating a total of $267,000 and $42,000 of it won’t even be their money, since that is paid for by the sales.
These companies who run campaigns like this as we approach Pinktober are using my disease to make a profit If you decide to buy something to give money to breast cancer research, read the fine print, ask the salesperson how much of what you spend goes to charity and which charity it is. Ask if there is a limit to the company’s donations, or even consider just donating what you were planning to spend directly to organizations that focus on research for a cure and helping patients get through treatment.
Remember, Think Before You Pink!
*But don’t get me started on “awareness.”