As October nears, thousands of us are readying ourselves to answer that special annual question: “stick with my normal brand or buy that pink product?” With hundreds-of-thousands of women diagnosed with breast cancer each year, the allure of the products is understandable. Many of us want to do our part to stop this disease. But, in reality, a portion of the purchase price of every pink product does not support the efforts to end breast cancer.
As manufacturers have realized the sales power of pink products, more and more of them enter the market each fall. Some are true cause-related marketing (CRM) promotions, in which a company uses a charity’s name and reputation to sell its products, and in those cases, charities win through increased exposure and contributions and companies win through increased product sales. Other pink products are fakes, lining the pockets of greedy corporations trying to capitalize on people’s generosity.
These fakes are, surprisingly, easily accessible. Recently, The Center for Ethics at BBB received a 50-page catalogue of pink products, urging us to purchase and resell these products during the month of October. Nothing about our name suggests we fund research or other initiatives aimed at ending this disease, yet, we had an all-access pass to every pink product imaginable mailed straight to our doorstep. We tossed the catalogue in the trash; by the number of pink products that hit the market each fall, we know everyone else does not.
How can you avoid the fakes this fall? Make sure you can answer these questions before buying a pink product.
- Which charity does this product support? Do I support the charity’s mission and believe in its programs?
- How is the charity receiving the contribution? Will simply purchasing the product result in a contribution to the charity or will I need to do other “homework” to make sure the contribution is received?
- How much of the purchase price is being donated to the charity?
- Is there a limit on the amount of money the company will donate to the charity? Has the company reached that goal?
- Can I make a bigger impact by donating directly to the charity?