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Pink Ribbons, Inc

 SamanthaKingby Samantha King

Over the past two decades, an informal alliance of breast cancer foundations and large corporations has achieved what would have once been unimaginable: The transformation of a stigmatized disease into a multimillion-dollar marketing tool through which commodities ranging from pink frying pans to handguns have been sold to well-intentioned consumers in the name of raising money for research and education.  When critics such as myself question cause related marketing campaigns, we are usually told that that it is a “win win” situation: Charities receive much-needed income and an opportunity to educate the public, while corporations improve their bottom line and enhance their image by differentiating their brands from those of their competitors. But how much money is actually accrued through such promotions? How is that money spent? And of what, exactly, is the public taught to be aware? More fundamentally, what vision of society and approach to those in need does breast cancer marketing promote? And what social, economic, and environmental problems does it perpetuate?

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