“Celebrate Life” Breast Cancer Support Fleece Jacket: Fighting for the Cure Never Looked So Good

Soft fleece with butterflies, uplifting message on back, embroidered ribbon on front, ribbon zipper pulls. Portion of proceeds supports the cause.

Price: $99.00 US (Available in 4 installments of $24.75)
For only $99, we can celebrate life and support the cause in style? Sign me up! Actually, don’t. How narcissistic and naive does The Bradford Exchange think consumers really are? From this ad, I’d have to conclude that the answer is “very.” The feel good, lifestyle approach to fighting the good fight has taken precedence over the realities and the work involved in actually dealing with breast cancer. The “Celebrate Life” ad continues:

“Show your proud support as you wrap yourself in the pretty-in-pink warmth of a cozy embroidered fleece jacket. Now, The Bradford Exchange offers an attractive way to recognize and remember those whose lives have been touched by breast cancer. Graced with the distinct embroidered emblem of a pink ribbon and beautiful butterflies, this decorative women’s fleece will warm you all over as a portion of the proceeds from your purchase will be donated to breast cancer charity.

There is much to critique about this advertisement. Pride, attractiveness, cutesy femininity, and symbolic action are all wrapped up in a cozy pink ribbon package. The ad gives a shout out to those who have been “touched by breast cancer” as ribbons, butterflies, and decorative fleece stand in for actual support and action. Since “a portion of the proceeds” will be “donated to breast cancer charity” consumers can take heart that something somewhere is being done.

The ad doesn’t stop there. It goes on to invoke the “challenge” and “fight” of breast cancer and the need for “cure” even as it calls for hope, celebration, uplift, and urgency.

“Expertly fashioned of high-quality fleece for warmth and wind resistance, and featuring a flattering princess cut, this uplifting jacket lets you fight for a cure in style. The zippered front and two side pockets are each accented with a sculptural breast cancer ribbon pull and the uplifting challenge to “Celebrate Life” is embroidered across the shoulders. Wrap yourself in hope with this one-of-a-kind embroidered fleece jacket, but don’t wait. Fight for a cure and order now!”Celebrate Life” Breast Cancer Support Fleece Jacket.”

Fighting for the cure never looked or felt so good! The exclusivity of this one-of-a-kind, expertly fashioned, high-quality jacket offers membership to a niche market of socially aware, stylized women.

In the current climate this ad would be critiqued, but not for the messages outlined above. More likely, this ad would be criticized for its squishy-ness around how much money goes where. Portions of proceeds and breast cancer charity are phrases that are simply too vague to ensure any accountability. Indeed, transparency and accountability are phase 1 for any decent cause marketing plan. And, it would behoove us to consider all of the revenue streams and profit centers within and outside of the cancer industry. But should the critique stop there? Is it really just about the money?

The messages in the “Celebrate Life” ad are rampant in pink ribbon culture and cause marketing. Instead of moving the public toward deeper understanding of breast cancer and the steps needed to tackle it, the branding of the illness to a niche market of stylish, socially aware individuals does exactly the opposite. We’re supposed to feel warm and fuzzy about the cause of the pink ribbon and display our pride in style. Nothing more.

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3 comments to “Celebrate Life” Breast Cancer Support Fleece Jacket

  • Exactly like the ad-copy I saw for Bradford Exchanges pre-lit Breast Cancer Awareness Christmas Tree on one of their targeted Facebook advertisements….

    “Celebrate the season of hope with pink-ribbon pizazz in this breast cancer support pre-decorated pull up Christmas tree.”

    So Christmas is now the “Season of Hope”, and apparently we need pink-ribbon pizazz in our lives? Isn’t incurable Stage IV breast cancer enough? Like I said in my recent blog entry, they have even found a way to put the Breast in Christmas. Merry Breastmas.

    This all needs to stop. NOW!

  • Tru

    Oh, isn’t this the truth! Gayle, I bought Pink Ribbon Blues and enjoyed it a great deal. I’m so glad you’re still blogging here, too. I’m as frustrated as you are with the constant selling of breast cancer “awareness” and “concern” as fashionable and stylish, not to mention hot and sexy. We need to keep up the cultural criticism, because we’re fighting back against an avalanche of pink-ribbon tchotchkes and two decades of people being sold the message that you simply don’t dare question this stuff because to do it is to be a spoilsport, a member of the anti-sex league and a killjoy, not to mention an ungrateful wretch who hasn’t yet learned that “beggars can’t be choosers” and that women who have had breast cancer are, indeed, beggars…

    I’m with Anna. I’ve never been able to understand anyone’s desire to make reminders of my breast cancer a part of my annual Christmas celebrations. The pink-ribbon ornaments are bad enough–now there’s a whole TREE?? Heaven help us.

  • Thanks for your comment. The idea that women who have breast cancer are “beggars who can’t be choosers” is an important point. How dare we have so many standards? Many diagnosed women have told me that they feel guilty if they bring up questionable marketing messages and strategies. But, it’s long overdue. It’s time to take a deep breath and let out a sigh of discontent. You are clearly not alone. May our sighs together become a roar.

"women urged to get screened because it might save their lives. But that’s only 1 possible outcome, and it’s the least likely one" @cragcrest cutt.ly/jei8WJr

“Pink Ribbon Blues”

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