Cancer shouldn't make companies richer...

Cancer shouldn't make companies richer...

There’s a new and trendy breast cancer campaign that’s roaming the internets. The “Feel your boobies” campaign is reminiscent of the same campaign put on by local college and high school boys, and … men- at bars, bedrooms and meeting places throughout the country. (They’re nothing if not direct, right?)

It’s not the wording that irritates me, (though entirely too trendy for that magic ‘buy in’ from the crowd most likely to get breast cancer,) it’s the sheer ignorance that a trendy, little, icon will get all our mothers and grandmothers to stop being afraid of being tested or doing monthly exams to protect themselves.

Look at the website. Though participants can add their own photos, (which is a great feature and what I believe helped spiral Obama’s numbers straight into the WhiteHouse, it’s so “Abercrombie and Fitch” it makes me disheartened that they are missing the point in it’s entirety.) Breast cancer isn’t funny, nor pretty. You’re not ‘pushing any boundries,’ or helping people adjust to the thought of getting their breasts removed because people are able to put their faces and self-appointed wit on an icon.

Pretty. Young. Supple. White. Skinny. -All used features for a beauty ad- but is this a beauty advertisement or a tool to reach a seriously under-targeted audience?


Percent of U.S. Women Who Develop Breast Cancer over 10-, 20-, and 30-Year Intervals According to Their Current Age, 2004–2006†
Current Age 10 Years 20 Years 30 Years
30 0.44 1.86 4.15
40 1.44 3.75 6.83
50 2.39 5.57 8.62
60 3.40 6.65 8.59

I’m to the point in my life that if I see another Fortune 500 business tack on a pink ribbon to sell me something at a higher price and to look ‘socially responsible.’ I’ll probably start wearing a black ribbon. Golf balls + shoes-(brought to you by the ‘bikinibodydiet.com’)Soft Drinks + Candy + everything else. You’ve all been there- walked into a store and something with a pink ribbon is being offered with a ridiculously low amount actually going to the ACTUAL charity, and the rest being pocketed and tax-deducted as marketing expense. Most call this a marketing gimmick, but I just call it companies tragically undervaluing their clientele.   Some companies do really have their hearts in cancer research: and for that, on behalf of all women and men touched by cancer, I applaud you.  You’ll have a hard time convincing me that you actually care, Corporate America, until you learn to stop watering down breast cancer to an ill-conceived campaign to sell off the atrocious colors of light pinks that plague store shelves.

Imagine selling cancer to men this way. Yes, selling. Why isn’t there a cure yet? (Could it be that cancer is more profitable when it’s not cured?) There’s a million sites dedicated to proving the point that big Pharmaceutical companies do not want a cure for cancer, because like the cure for Polio- it’s un-patentable, or would mean the end of most of our world’s most expensive drugs, (aka: Big Pharma’s bonuses.) The more people that get sick and battle- the more execs get rich. Basic economics and accounting, right? I wondered what would happen if they sold cancer to men, like they have to women. I cannot imagine any guy buying golf balls for prostate cancer, or perhaps shoes with special ‘witty’ sayings and ribbons on them. Guys buy stuff because it’s the best brand out there, not because of gimmicks.

All it would take is one person to say, “ENOUGH. Run campaigns that are actually effective: targeting lower-income, older females without insurance or someone to remind them. Don’t make ‘breast cancer’ just another fad. Pressure those around you to write about a cure, and what the government is doing to prevent drug companies from making money on women’s dead bodies. For all the women that died, a pair of shoes, or a handbag is no reminder that’s tangible to her children who are living in the shadow of who she was and all that mattered while she was on this earth.)

(So I’m saying it.) Enough. Breast Cancer is not a trend, it’s an epidemic. Stop making it trendy, young and white.

So here’s my next trendy, white, skinny, and … manly campaign. “Turn your head and cough, for cancer.” Seems like a good idea now.