Cause-Marketing Awareness Survey in the U.K.

The ancient Mayan pyramids of Chichen Itza, in Mexico's southern state of Yucatan, are lit in pink light as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. October 19, 2010. (REUTERS/Jacinto Kanek)

Annika Munkel is a third-year marketing student at London South Bank University. After seeing the inundation of pink products during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month here in the United States, she decided to do her dissertation research on pink cause-marketing in the U.K.

What are women’s views of these campaigns? How much do . . . → Read More: Cause-Marketing Awareness Survey in the U.K.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Sells Out the Pink to Get the Green

This essay was republished with the same title by the Oxford University Press Blog on December 20, 2010, and by in June, 2011 with the new title “How Susan G. Komen for the Cure affects other cancer non-profits.”

In response to increased publicity surrounding Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s questionable trademark and marketing activities, the organization published an official statement on its website, titled: “Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Sees Trademark Protection as Responsible Stewardship of Donor Funds.”

According to the statement, Susan G. Komen . . . → Read More: Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Sells Out the Pink to Get the Green

Gayle Sulik on “The Stupid Cancer Show”

Tune in on Monday, November 15 at 8:00 PM Eastern Standard Time for an interesting episode of The Stupid Cancer Show – focusing on cause marketing.

“The Stupid Cancer Show is an award-winning international talk radio webcast giving voice to this lost generation of 5 million strong by tackling hard hitting issues from politics, health care and the environment to social media, entertainment and education. Hosted by young adult survivors Lisa Bernhard – acclaimed journalist, former Entertainment Correspondent for FOX News and former Deputy . . . → Read More: Gayle Sulik on “The Stupid Cancer Show”

Interview with Emily Main of

Re-post of Is the Pink Ribbon a Bad Idea? Maybe

In a new book, sociologist Gayle Sulik examines how all those pink ribbon marketing campaigns associated with breast cancer may be doing more harm than good.

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—As National Breast Cancer Awareness Month comes to a close, it’s likely you’ve seen more than a few pink ribbons, pink yogurt lids, pink football paraphernalia, and pink household appliances. Such “cause marketing” has ballooned over the past few decades, in an attempt to raise . . . → Read More: Interview with Emily Main of

“Cure for Cancer Stalls…Companies in the Black”

Gergana Koleva wrote a thought provoking article for AOL’s Wallet Pop, about how consumers might distinguish between “legitimate support for the cause from shameless product marketing.” When the symbol is used for both purposes, consumers are left in the dark about what to support and what to avoid.

Check out Koleva’s article. I had a chance to talk with her a few weeks ago about my research on the topic.

Gayle Sulik On Oprah Radio’s “The Dr. Laura Berman Show”

Oprah Radio host Dr. Laura Berman talks with Gayle Sulik, author of Pink Ribbon Blues, about breast cancer awareness, where your donations for research are going and the downfalls of what Gayle calls “breast cancer culture.”

Here’s an audio clip of the first part of this live interview.

I really enjoyed this interview at JAZZ with Dr. Laura Berman. Dr. Berman and her listeners had thought provoking questions and comments that spoke to their own concerns about the cancer industry, cause marketing, pink . . . → Read More: Gayle Sulik On Oprah Radio’s “The Dr. Laura Berman Show”

Awareness Umbrella

The Ad for the pink and white awareness umbrella reads:

“A beautifully constructed umbrella is appreciated rain or shine! Recipients will know you care when you pick gifts that show you’re there! Umbrella comes in clear vinyl sleeve. Awareness Pink Ribbon Design.”

Awareness. We see and hear that word a lot, especially when it comes to the cause of breast cancer. The pink ribbon signifies awareness. People want to raise awareness. Products and services claim to spread awareness. But what exactly does . . . → Read More: Awareness Umbrella

Cat Nap for the Cause

“Support the fight against breast cancer, simply by taking a nap!” If only we’d known it was that simple.

Actually, it’s not that simple. Deep down we know that too. But cause marketing campaigns excel at helping us to forget reality. They use the cause of breast cancer to capitalize on emotions and good intentions.

The moment we think about it, it’s obvious. I love my cats. In fact, my big gray cat sleeps in the in-box on my desk as I work. . . . → Read More: Cat Nap for the Cause

Unfashionable Diseases and Less Glamorous Cancers

“Cancer charities which work with less glamorous cancers, bowel, lung, pancreatic for example, let alone charities working with distinctly unfashionable diseases…mental health charities and Alzheimers… envy the ease with which consumers spend on pink products, though some cancer charities may welcome the ‘trickle down’ effect.” –comment to The New York Times article Pink Ribbon Fatigue

What is it about breast cancer that is so glamorous? It’s pink. As I write in What’s in a Color? “the cause of breast cancer has been . . . → Read More: Unfashionable Diseases and Less Glamorous Cancers

Swimming In A Sea of Pink

Talking about gender, says Sociologist Judith Lorber, is for most people the equivalent of fish talking about water. It is so common, routine, pervasive, and normal– that “questioning its taken-for-granted assumptions…is like wondering whether the sun will come up.” It seems natural and predictable. The same is true for pink. Pink ribbons are so commonplace that we’ve just gotten used to them.

Pink is supposed to signify awareness. But how much awareness can there be when people casually swim through the pink without noticing its texture, intent, presuppositions, . . . → Read More: Swimming In A Sea of Pink

“Pink Ribbon Blues,” Book

Paperback includes new Introduction on fundraising controversies and color insert with images of, and reactions to, the pinking of breast cancer (2012).

Order the Paperback » 

Read Reviews » 

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Recent Sulik Interviews

A Year After Bombings, Some Say 'Boston Strong' Has Gone Overboard NPR, All Things Considered

Canadian Mammogram Study KCRW, NPR Affiliate

Breast Cancer: Awareness, Activism & Pinkwashing NPR Charlotte

Buying Pink Al Jazeera's The Stream Watch »

The Pink Backlash Orlando Sentinel

Preventative Mastectomies: Disease and Deception Listen to BlogTalkRadio »

Angelina Jolie and the 'Breast Cancer Gene' Listen to KCRW »

Our Feel-Good War on Breast Cancer. The New York Times Magazine.

The Story Behind the Pink Ribbon Campaign Sisters Talk Radio

WISH Interview Women's International Summit for Health

Making Cancer About The Patient, Not The Body Part CBS Pittsburgh

Sexy breast cancer campaigns anger many patients USA Today

The perils of pink The Daily

Komen pink campaign creates breast-cancer blues for some Dallas Morning News

A yellow flag for the NFL's pink New York Daily

Gayle Sulik named #7 in SharecareNow’s Top 10 Online Influencers in Breast Cancer

"Breast cancer cancer causes so easily derailed" Philly Inquirer

"Komen Charity Under Microscope for Funding, Science" Reuters

"The Fight Against Cancer - And Abortion?

"Susan G. Komen For the Cure defunds Planned Parenthood." In Deep with Angie Coiro

"Amid Breast Cancer Month, Is there Pink Fatigue?" NPR's All Things Considered

"How is Breast Cancer Culture Undermining Women's Health?" America’s Radio News Network

"Pink Ribbon Culture and Breast Cancer" The Kojo Nnamdi Show

"The Big Business of Breast Cancer" 
Marie Claire

"Does Breast Cancer Awareness Month Crowd Out Other Diseases?" Slate

"Pink Inc. Has Many Starting to See Red" The Sacramento Bee

"Get Your Pink Off" Ottawa Citizen

"Komen Pink Ribbons Raise Green and Questions" USA Today