Pink Ribbon Lifestyle

Pink Ribbon Lifestyle: a way of life or style of living that reflects the attitudes and values of pink ribbon culture, e.g., doing good for a good cause with status and style, usually involving consumption of pink ribbon products and services (including entertainment-based fund raising).

See also: Breast Cancer Brand; Celebrity Effect; Cause Marketing; Pinktober


Pink ribbon culture has been so successful in convincing the public to “celebrate breast cancer awareness” that the celebration has taken on a life of its own.

A fashionable person can shop for the cure, laugh for the cure, drink wine for the cure, buy shoes for the cure, listen to music for the cure, get a massage for the cure, test-drive a BMW for the cure, use their pink tech for the cure, spend a weekend in a fancy hotel for the cure.


Example 1

Westin’s Courage Night

Westin notes that breast cancer is a “devastating disease that touches the lives of mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and everyone in between.”

The text associates breast cancer with the innocence of the women in our lives even as it identifies retailers as good corporate citizens who provide consumers with the opportunities to do something good. But what this really means for the pink ribbon cause is a broader consumer base.

Such ads target the women shoppers who make up the magazine’s audience, thereby extending the reach of pink ribbon culture and reinforcing women’s normative roles as consumers.

Courage night offers “special shopping and survivor celebrations” and calls upon the public to think of their consumption as way to take an active role in the “fight against breast cancer.”

Similar to others using the breast cancer brand, Westin encourages consumers to treat themselves to the vast selection of pink products and feel-good activities pink ribbon culture has to offer.


Example 2

Ford’s Tied to the Cause Campaign

Ford’s Tied to the Cause campaign covered the pages of women’s magazines from 2000 to 2006:

“The campaign features a commemorative bandanna…to promote Ford’s breast cancer awareness campaign and longstanding relationship with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation’s Race for the Cure(R) Series.”

The prominent breast cancer organization supplies legitimacy to Ford’s campaign and reminds the reader of the seriousness of breast cancer. In addition, Ford does not have to modify its own brand. The campaign displays the familiar Ford emblem next to or centered atop a pink ribbon.

The Ford campaign uses star power to highlight pink lifestyle. Featuring celebrities such as Demi Moore, Cuba Gooding Jr., Yasmine Bleeth, Sarah Michele Geller, Mary J. Blige (featured here), stars from the television show ER, and others wearing the limited-edition silk scarf (retail price, $35).

The individuals, their sponsors, and Ford glean recognition, social acceptance, and good will through their affiliation with the good cause of breast cancer. Even without mention of awareness or research, pink symbolism and lifestyle are sufficient to convey the breast cancer brand. Brand associations stir emotions and encourage kind of action—even if the action is only symbolic.


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