8 Pinktober Promotions that Deserve a Ribbon

Selfish Giving and Cone Communications, a leading public relations and marketing agency that specializes in cause marketing, are teaming up to share our top "pinktober" cause marketing promotions. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and companies are partnering with breast cancer charities on a variety of "pink" promotions.

In choosing ribbon-worthy "pinktober" campaigns we began with two standards to guide our selections.

First Standard: Does the program says exactly what charity will receive the funds, with enough information for a person to find and investigate the charity on their own. (e.g. Funds raised will benefit Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Learn more at www.bcrfcure.org.)

Second Standard: Does the program say exactly how much money the charity will receive - either in total or from each purchase with a projection of the total and any minimum or maximums built-in. (e.g. X charity will receive ten cents from each yogurt sold for a total minimum donation of $50,000 and a maximum donation of $100,000.)

All the programs we chose that fundraising goals met these two standards. Among other things, we also considered the size of the contribution, the length of the partnership and some of the creative ways the cause marketing promotion was activated.

Our choices aren't the only noteworthy "pinktober" promotions. But they are some of the best, and embody the standards and qualities of good programs we might have missed or didn't make our top ten list.


Program: Lee Jeans National Denim Day

The Details: Wear your jeans to work on Denim Day in exchange for a $5 contribution to Women's Cancer Programs of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF).

Why It's on the List: Since 1996 this simple cause marketing program has raised $83 million dollars and involved thousands of companies and tens of thousands of employees. 

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Program: NFL Goes Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness

The Details: Everything from pink apparel, equipment, half-time programs celebrating cancer survivors and even pink field goal posts the first Sunday of October made this a can't-miss program.

Why It's on the List: A tremendous visibility effort that, in true NFL form, really kicked off "pinktober". We admire the NFL's focus on cancer prevention by encouraging women over 40 to get their mammograms, which will be important in driving down cancer rates.

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Program: Dick's Sporting Goods October - The Power of Pink

The Details: In addition to selling many pink ribbon products in their stores from names such as Nike, Reebok and Under Armour, Dick's will kick-off the giving with a $250,000 donation to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Consumers can also show their support by adding a pink ribbon to Dick's "Endless Ribbon" Facebook initiative. Throughout October, consumers can visit the Dick's Sporting Goods Facebook page, add a pink ribbon to their profile picture and dedicate it to a loved one or choose to include an expression of hope. Dick's goal is to break the record for World's Longest Pink Ribbon. Finally, the sporting goods retailer is teaming up with several professional NFL players to promote "The Power of Pink" via public relations and social media.

Why It's on the List: Dick's is supporting breast cancer with in store tie ins, digital, a corporate gift and celebrity endorsements. As a retailer that's done many cause marketing campaigns - mainly point-of-sale programs at the register - Dick's Sporting Goods has challenged themselves and created an October promotion that is varied, ambitious, creative and generous. [One thing we did find at Dick's and other retailers' online shopping sites is a need to share the same level of details and transparency online that is often shared offline on pink products sold in stores. This is certainly an area for improvement for most brick and click retailers.]

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Program: Kroger Giving Hope a Hand

The Details: Kroger will carry over 1,600 pink items--supporting many breast cancer organizations--in October that this year alone will raise $3 million. This will bring Kroger's total fundraising effort to $18 million since 1996. This year, Kroger is featuring 53 employees and cancer survivors in its latest promotion.

Why It's on the List: As the country's largest grocery chain, Kroger is uniquely positioned to help vendors such as Yoplait, Campbell's and Betty Crocker to achieve their own ambitious fundraising goals. Giving Hope a Hand puts a face on the program for the company and gives "pinktober" a new relevance and urgency. Kroger's commitment to keeping dollars raised local and the company's involvement year-round in cancer fundraisers gives hope more than a hand - it gives it a real boost!

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Program: Yoplait Save Lids to Save Lives**

The Details: In the Save Lids to Save Lives program, for each pink lid redeemed by customers through the end of the year, Yoplait will donate 10 cents to Susan G. Komen for the Cure to support local breast cancer awareness programs, up to $2 million.

Why It's on the List: This is a signature "pinktober" campaign has raised $30 million over the past 13 years. Not only is it one of the most recognizable cause marketing programs among consumers, but Yoplait's commitment to the cause is year-round through the Komen Race for the Cure and is always finding new ways to support breast cancer awareness and survivors.

** A Cone client.

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Program: Delta Air Lines Take Flight for the Fight

The Details: A pink plane - "Breast Cancer One" - kicked off month by taking Delta employee cancer survivors from Atlanta to Detroit. Delta employees are adorned in pink scarves, ties and other apparel. When you join the Delta Sky club 10% is donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Finally, Delta has teamed up with Minute Maid Pink Lemonade to donate 100% of inflight sales to BCRF.

Why It's on the List: We recently had the chance to fly Delta and witness firsthand their commitment to the cause. It was omnipresent on the flight from the staff's announcements to apparel to branded napkins. There's a pride that makes this program very authentic. It shows in how much Delta has given to the BCRF since 2005: $3.5 million.

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Program: Sharpie Ink it Pink

The Details: Sharpie is challenging consumers to Ink it Pink for the cause.  For every pink autograph submitted to its website in October, Sharpie will donate $1 to City of Hope. Sharpie also has a whole of line of pink ribbon products that have helped raise $2 million for City of Hope since 2006.

Why it's on the List: This is great integration of breast cancer awareness with a product line. Sharpie has worked hard to engage celebrities, sports stars and other A-listers in the program, which has increased the the visibility of the promotion and awareness of breast cancer issues.

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Program: Boston's Copley Square Hotel Goes Pink for October

The Details:The Copley Square Hotel is matching $1 donations from guests at time of reservation. The hotel’s restaurant, XHALE, will offer a special pink themed dessert in October for $5.00 with 100% of the proceeds plus a hotel match going to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The hotel staff will also be doing their part by wearing pink bow ties and scarves throughout October.

Why It's on the List: A great local example (Selfish Giving and Cone are based in Boston!) of cause marketing in a place consumers usually don't find it: a hotel. The program involves the hotel's major asset: guest reservations. Copley's commitment to the program is complete as hotel staff will also be doing their part by wearing pink bow ties and scarves throughout October. And the hotel will be flying a pink flag, of course.

There are many great "pinktober" promotions this month. And they're not limited to partnerships between big companies and causes. Look around your community, and share your favorite pink program in the comments!