Founded in 1985, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is arguably the most successful cause marketing campaign of all time. Neatly falling between back-to-school season and Halloween, the month formerly known as October has indeed become “Pinktober.” From the top of the Chase and every NFL uniform, to your yogurt lid, there’s pink on everything, everywhere.
According to the 2012 Cone Communications Breast Cancer Trend Tracker, 92% of Americans believe breast cancer is a critical cause that companies should support, but only 26% feel that businesses have actually had a significant positive impact on the issue. Despite this, with 86% of consumers reporting a positive impression of a brand that supports the breast cancer cause, the “pink halo effect” is often enough to prompt purchase or response.
And although 74% of Americans say they are more likely to purchase a breast cancer-related product or service over others during October, they are becoming increasingly desensitized and skeptical.
In an inundated marketplace, consumers are requiring proof of commitment and impact to the breast cancer cause. If corporations really want to support survivors and raise awareness, they need to do a better job of communicating how consumer purchases are advancing the issue. My hope is that they are transparent and demonstrate genuine commitment—ideally more than donations and beyond the month of October. We need to go beyond awareness. True progress requires more than pink ribbons for 31 days—it requires action all year around.