Before you donate
If there is a negative to the pink product promotions, it is the possibility of exploitation when companies latch on to the promotion, dip a product in pink dye, benefit from the association - and then donate a negligible percentage of the profit.
Consumers should be informed about where their money goes. Cindy Schneible, vice president of development for the Dallas-based Susan G. Komen for the Cure, said you should ask these four questions:
¢ How much is the company donating?
¢ Whom does the program benefit? Check give.org.
¢ How will my money be used?
¢ Is this program meaningful to me?
Kansas City, Mo. Just when you think it has overstayed its welcome, pink sweeps back in for one more round on the fashion palette. The reason? It looks good on almost everyone, said Leatrice Eiseman, Pantone color consultant.
But its popularity is also due in part this month to the current in-your-face explosion across the landscape, as pink is the designated color for the October breast cancer awareness campaign.
Dozens of pink products are all over retail stores and Web sites.
You can buy everything from pink plastic rings (two for $5) from Susan G. Komen for the Cure Web site to a $1,700 Byzantine Alhambra bracelet from Van Cleef & Arpels at vancleef-arpels.com. Cashmere sweaters, St. John outfits, a $298 Coach watch from Coach stores: They all allow you to make a contribution.
The October promotion also brings a huge increase in awareness of the disease.
"People say, 'That reminds me that I need to get my mammogram,"' said Lori Maris, executive director of the Kansas City, Mo., affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. St. Luke's Hospital sees an increase in mammogram appointments, and the Komen chapter has more requests for speaking engagements in October.
"It takes that bombardment of pink," Maris said.
The money raised in October is a tremendous boost, said Cindy Schneible, vice president of development for the Dallas-based Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The organization generated $55 million last year, much of which went to research grants.
"Every penny counts," said Robbie Fink, marketing director of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. "We give 85 cents on every dollar" to the cause.
It has become increasingly fashionable in the last two decades to mix pink products with charity. In 1982 Nancy Brinker founded the Dallas-based Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Brinker was honoring a promise made to her sister Suzy, who died in 1981 after a three-year battle with breast cancer.
The cause took on even more life when Evelyn Lauder, senior corporate vice president of Estee Lauder companies, developed the pink ribbon symbol in 1992. Diagnosed herself in the late '80s, she established the Breast Cancer Research Foundation in 1993. Lauder pink lipstick products have proliferated, and so has the money. Lauder is donating $500,000 in connection with the sale of its Pink Ribbon product line.
Here are just a few of the other ongoing breast cancer promotions.
The shop-at-home network joined forces with the Fashion Footwear Association of New York to hold its annual shoe extravaganza. Every weekday in October, a pair of shoes is for sale at half the suggested retail price. To buy the shoes, call (800) 345-1515 or go to qvc.com.
In celebration of its 35th anniversary, the company is selling silver bangle bracelets imprinted with "words to live by" from celebrity women. The women include Beyonce and her mother Tina Knowles, Julianna Margulies, Lynda Carter and Mena Suvari. All profits are designated for Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
The trendy New York-based department store has a "Little Pink Shop" that includes a $42 pink camouflage tank. Find it at bloomingdales.com. The company will give 100 percent of profits to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
The company owned by Lauder is selling a $30 pink lip set that includes gloss and color stick. She is donating $35,000 from North American sales to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
St. John Knits
An eight-outfit collection priced from $150 to $1,595. The company is donating 10 percent of proceeds to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
The Power of Pink Collection at Brighton jewelry stores includes a silver necklace, bracelet and earrings. Each of the bracelet charms are imprinted with a philosophical saying. The company pledges to donate $10 for every $50 necklace and bracelet sold or $5 for the $34 earrings sold.