The Cancer Pink Ribbon Marketing Scam That’s Capitalizing On Women’s Emotions

pinkribbonby Alanna Ketler

If you are living in America, chances are you’re familiar with the little pink ribbons. They seem to be plastered on everything — from makeup and jewellery to gardening tools and even buckets of fried chicken. But at least they are for a good cause. If we see this symbol and purchase these products, that means we are supporting breast cancer research, right?

Well, surprise, surprise — that is exactly what you are meant to believe and an example of marketing at its finest. It is truly sad to realize how much power marketing and advertising campaigns have over us.

Considering that about 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, the Breast Cancer Foundation represents a noble cause that certainly deserves money for research and treatment. Unfortunately, their efforts only appear honourable on the surface; in reality, the multi-million dollar company behind those pink ribbons — the Susan G. Komen Foundation — puts less than a dime of each dollar toward actually finding a cure for breast cancer. And that’s just the beginning of the problem.

Where Does The Money Actually Go?

The Komen Foundation’s assets total over a staggering $390 million. According to Charity Navigator, the foundation reported a total revenue of nearly $312 million in the fiscal year ending in March 2010. In an article published on AlterNet, however, Emily Michele breaks down how this money was actually spent, showing that only 20.9% of the funds are actually going to breast cancer research, despite the heavily marketed “search for the cure” being their most publicized mission. So where else does the money raised go?

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