Did you ever see a pink ribbon bow design on a T-shirt, stickers on the back of a car or on a pink balloon? Did you feel overwhelmed by this pink bow? Do you know what the pink bow stands for? Yes, it represents breast cancer awareness. Today, I am going to talk about the story of pink ribbon bow.
Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the United States. The National Institutes of Health estimated that the 2010 overall annual costs of cancer were: $263.8 billion. Breast cancer is a type of cancer where cells in the breast tissue divide and grow without normal control. It is the most prevalent cancer in the world today, with about 1.3 million people diagnosed annually. The pink ribbon bow represents the Awareness of Breast Cancer Campaign, which has been used in campaigns for about 20 years by the Susan G Komen foundation. As time goes by, people are beginning to question the “pink ribbon bow” marketing strategy.
First, Komen foundation united all the other foundations and organizations in support for breast cancer research by using the same pink ribbon bowl on their web page banners. When I was searching “breast cancer pink bow” in Amazon and EBay, huge amounts of products showed up with the theme of the pink bowl. For example, pink Berry bowls, blankets, breast cancer awareness jeans, pink ribbon bracelets, blackberry cases, cherry pink tea for women’s health, measuring tools, pet bowls, nail lacquers and keychain purses. Bank of America is promoting the pink bow Visa card. Avon foundation for women strongly supports Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Also, foundations invite celebrities to make ads for the pin bowl and donate the sales to related cancer research. Second, in addition to using the pink ribbon bowl brand to increase the awareness of breast cancer, different media have been selected to fundraising and campaign for breast cancer research. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, newspapers and outdoor posters have been used. This is the first attempt to bring the awareness of cancer to the public through a business model by putting pink bows to attract peoples’ attention through all kinds of media.
Third, different opinions exist on the “pink bow” design for breast cancer in marketing. Articles from the Wall Street journal and Harvard Business Review have discussed the color chosen for the bow. More and more researchers believe that pink is not an appropriate color for fundraising for breast cancer. There are some reasons: 1) Pink is a happy and joyful color for women and children. Women don’t want to be seen as vulnerable and childlike. 2) Pink is a gendered color, which does not appeal to men and prevents them from getting the products. 3) This color is connected to “weakness” or “low practicality.” Gender-neutral colors should be chosen for the bowl such as white, black and yellow.
The Susan G Komen foundation has contributed $685 million to breast cancer research and $1.3 billion to community programs that help with mammograms, transportation and other needs. Through the pink bow, awareness of breast cancer has been established in the public. Nothing makes pink a feminine color except what we think. However, it is the time to initiate the Breast Cancer Action month rather than the usual awareness month. The right color selection can make a long-lasting impression among a crowd of brands, enhancing a company’s image and revenue.