The first organized effort to bring widespread awareness to breast cancer occurred as a weeklong event in the U.S. in October 1985 through a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries (now part of Astra-Zeneca). The mission was to educate and empower women to take charge of their breast health. In the fall of 1991, the Susan G. Komen Foundation first handed out pink ribbons to participants in its NYC race for breast cancer survivors. Two years later, Evelyn Lauder, SVP of the Estee Lauder Companies, founded the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) and established the pink ribbon as its symbol.
Enjoying such a long and storied history certainly adds to the success of Breast Cancer Awareness Month but also presents a challenge to brands as they seek to find fresh ways to draw attention to their partnerships. Delta Airlines literally first took the message to the skies in a big way in 2005 when they introduced a newly painted pink plane to its fleet to raise awareness for the cause and its partner BCRF.
One trend that we are seeing is that large companies such as Avon and Delta are holding lead-up events to promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month long before October. Other brands, such as Hard Rock International and RevitaLash began their special promotions in September. Another trend is the number of emerging industries/companies joining the campaign. Green Thumb Industries, a cannabis products company, AQUAHydrate high-performance water, and mobile accessories company UAG are examples. Of course pink products are still an October mainstay – even Cape Cod potato chips are going pink this year!
Here is a roundup of this year’s most innovative promotions:
AQUAhydrate has initiated a new partnership with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) and is donating $10,000 during the month of October. AQUAhydrate is promoting the partnership with a limited Pink Handle edition of their gallon package.
Avon launched its Kiss Breast Cancer Goodbye campaign July 29th on National Lipstick Day as a lead-up to the company’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month activities, which also includes its national presenting sponsorship of the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. The campaign launched at Avon RepFest, an annual three-day gathering of thousands of Avon Representatives held in July. Attendees left their lip print on a massive wall of kisses at the Greater Columbus Convention Center and started the chain of kisses on social media. Avon will donate 15% of the price of their Avon True Color Nourishing Lipstick purchased throughout October to American Cancer Society’s breast health programs.
BELDON More than 450 home improvement team members are sporting pink safety vests, hard hats and lanyards for the month of October as The BELDON Group of Companies introduces The BELDON Cares Program to increase awareness of breast cancer and raise funding for research. The BELDON Cares Program is matching up to $10,000 in contributions to the Susan G. Komen Foundation made through Beldon.com.
Cape Cod Potato Chips announced the limited release of Cape Cod Pink Himalayan Salt & Red Wine Vinegar Potato Chips in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Five percent of proceeds from every purchase up to $25,000 of the limited-batch flavor will support the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Delta Airlines kicked off its month-long campaign with the airline’s annual “Breast Cancer One” employee survivor flight. Throughout the month, Delta employees don pink uniforms and sell pink products, including pink lemonade and pink headsets, with 100% of the proceeds benefitting BCRF. Delta continued the legacy of the pink dress with the debut of its new Zac Posen uniform collection in May.
Chevrolet will contribute $5 to the American Cancer Society every time #IDriveFor is used on Twitter or Instagram until the goal of $400,000 is reached. It is the eighth year of the partnership.
Dippin’ Dots & Doc Popcorn are teaming up again this year to raise money for Susan G. Komen. Throughout the month of October, all Doc Popcorn and co-branded Dippin’ Dots and Doc Popcorn franchise locations will collect donations in-store and online. Dippin’ Dots is guaranteeing a minimum donation of $12,500 to Komen. Doc Popcorn will donate to Komen at least $4 for each pink PopBucket sold and is guaranteeing a minimum donation of $12,500 to Komen.
Green Thumb Industries (GTI) a national cannabis consumer packaged goods company and owner-operator of the national retail chain RISE Dispensaries, announced the release of special, limited edition “RYTHM for a Cause” vaporizer pens and a partnership with three breast cancer organizations to raise awareness: The Lynn Sage Foundation in Illinois; METAvivor in Maryland; and Living Beyond Breast Cancer in Pennsylvania.
Eggland’s Best (EB) in its ninth year of its partnership with Susan G. Komen continues to support the fight to end breast cancer. To highlight their commitment and to encourage action from millions of consumers, the red Eggland’s Best-stamped eggs will instead showcase Komen’s iconic pink Running Ribbon throughout October. Eggland’s Best egg cartons will also feature Komen graphics. Eggland’s Best will donate $100,000 to Susan G. Komen regardless of sales.
Hard Rock International is going PINK for the brand’s 19th Annual PINKTOBER campaign. Starting in September and continuing throughout October, guests are invited to join the fight against breast cancer at Hard Rock Cafes, Hotels and Casinos worldwide. As part of the international PINKTOBER campaign, select Hard Rock Hotel and Cafe properties will host events that support breast cancer charities focused in their communities. Proceeds from the PINKTOBER campaign will benefit research and awareness-driving efforts for Hard Rock Heals Foundation, which works with numerous charity partners worldwide.
Keranique announced a charitable partnership with HairToStay in order to increase access to subsidies for low income patients using scalp cooling to reduce hair loss during chemotherapy. Keranique dedicated their HSN Today’s Special airing on October 3rd by donating $2 of all sales for the day to HairToStay. In addition, for every sale in October of Keranique’s Hair Regrowth System from Keranique.com and participating retailers the brand will contribute $2 to HairToStay.
KitchenAid will make a $1 donation to Susan G. Komen, up to a maximum of $10,000 for every original cupcake photo or video shared on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtags #10000cupcakes and #donate in October.
RevitaLash a proud supporter of year-round breast cancer initiatives, has debuted its annual Pink promotion, which began August 1st and will continue through October. This year, RevitaLash Cosmetics is expanding their philanthropic footprint with a global giving strategy. $2 from the sale of each limited edition Pink promotion gift set will be donated to breast cancer awareness, research and education initiatives worldwide up to a maximum of $50,000. Also, for every eyelash and eyebrow conditioner sold on revitalash.com from September 15th – October 31st, the company will donate one RevitaBrow Advanced to the City of Hope Positive Image Center up to a maximum of 1,600 units.
UAG a leading designer of rugged, lightweight mobile accessories, is joining the fight against breast cancer with their newest Product PNK. For every Product PNK case sold during the month of October, UAG will donate 100% of the profits to charities that support breast cancer awareness.
Valpak In partnership with Susan G. Komen, Valpak’s pink envelope will highlight celebrity chef Sandra Lee, a breast cancer survivor and advocate for women’s health, as a “More Than Pink Hero.” The pink envelope will introduce a related sweepstakes, inviting consumers to nominate a hero who has taken action in the fight against breast cancer. Throughout the month of October, Valpak will share the submitted stories and ultimately 25 lucky winners will each receive a set of pink KitchenAid appliances in support of Cook for the Cure. The set includes a stand mixer, blender, 2-speed hand blender and a 5-speed hand mixer with a total retail value of over $800. The nationwide October Valpak envelope will also feature a special surprise for 500 lucky recipients, who will instantly win a KitchenAid immersion blender.
Vineyard Vines the lifestyle apparel brand best known for its smiling pink whale logo, announced the second year of their partnership with Bright Pink, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer. The exclusive collection includes long-sleeve tees and a silk tie bearing the brand’s whale logo paired with the breast cancer awareness Pink Ribbon. The brand will donate 30% of all sales from the product collection to Bright Pink. In addition to the special collection, Bright Pink’s mission and their online detection tools will be promoted by vineyard vines through their social channels, digital ads and in-store events.