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October 17, 2011

Could "Pinking Out" Your Branding For the Fight Against Breast Cancer Backfire?

BreastCancerAwarenessRibbon.pngIt seems that many brands have "pinked out" for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

American Airlines has a "Fly for the Cure" campaign where users can indicate their location and donations by pinning a pink ribbon to the virtual pinkboard on American Airlines Facebook page. Some departure gates been painted pink as well.

Tic Tacs is now offering us Pink Grapefruit flavor, while Procter & Gamble is teaming up with the Give Hope program and allowing users to create a badge on the charity's Facebook page.

But here's an interesting question. Will associating your brand name with the color pink actually help fight breast cancer?

At least one researcher thinks it will not. Stefano Puntoni from the University of Rotterdam published research experiments that show that because so many women identified positively with the color pink that they go into a "state of denial" when it comes to associating the color with breast cancer.

The color pink is, quite simply, too relevant to the target market.

This is, of course, sending shockwaves in the industry. Not only is it forcing many people to rethink how the fight against breast cancer is branded, but also just what gender specific coloring does when it comes to marketing means.

Some evidence shows us that despite Puntoni's findings, the public reacts positively to breast cancer charities that there the color pink.

Moreover, the color is now unforgettable linked to the fight against breast cancer - so much so that some auto parts companies are in fact changing the color of their products to help in the fight.

At the same time, there is a cause out there called Think before You Pink that seems to seek to expose those companies that simply use the color pink to symbolically fight against breast cancer without doing anything of real value.

I think this type of initiative helps separate those brands that are really involved in the fight from those who are simply using an emotive color to sell a product.

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Posted by William Lozito at October 17, 2011 8:00 AM
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