The Re-Branding of the Susan G. Komen Foundation

1 Oct

It was necessary – given the heat and fallout that SGK has deservedly experienced the past couple of years – that they re-brand themselves. And, they are definitely good at branding. But: “Passionately Pink for the Cure” . . . really? (Oh, and this has been trademarked – so don’t think you can use it for a fundraiser without getting sued).

I just discovered this re-branding this morning when I walked into my office building and saw this:

balloons pink komen

The lobby of my office building has gone pink

This wasn’t really a big surprise to me. But, then I saw all of these signs for: and I thought, well who are they? Who is this new breast cancer non-profit? Hmmm . . .

And then I saw this:

passionately puke

Passionately Pink for the Cure is a new registered trademark of SGK – and their new brand. I guess they have finally conceded that they are not racing for anything.

SGK understandably needed a face lift after: a) doing some very stupid things like: pulling the plug on some women’s healthcare last year (you know, just the women who are poor, by choosing to no longer provide money to Planned Parenthood – where many women, in particular poor women, receive cancer screening),  and after b) being outed by many sources (including Reuters and our dear Rachel in 2010 in her widely seen post on “2010 Komen by the Numbers” – and for those of you who did not know, Rachel, among other things she was a cpa, so she did the math on SGK’s public financials) that less than 15% of the millions and millions of dollars SGK has raised in the name of a cure go towards research. Just to be clear, Rachel’s numbers for 2010 were 19%. When Rachel died of metastatic breast cancer in 2011, her post made the rounds again and Reuters did their own math and came up with 14%. Either way – not much.

In fairness, after tremendous public outcry, SGK returned the money to Planned Parenthood (essentially they were forced into doing the right thing).

And, then of course there was Nancy Brinker’s “Promise Me” Perfume fiasco. In case you didn’t know or don’t remember (but who could forget), Nancy Brinker launched a perfume called Promise Me (which is also the name of her book that was released about the same time). Of course the proceeds of this carcinogen containing perfume (yes, tests were run and the “Promise Me” perfume was found to contain chemicals banned in Europe for being known carcinogens) went towards breast cancer. About how much of it went to breast cancer research? About a $1.64 of the nearly $70.00 purchase price went towards a cure. The perfume was put on the shelves and sold. And, once it was brought to Nancy’s attention that her perfume contained harmful chemicals, she refused to take it off the shelves. 

Many of us began demanding that Nancy Brinker “step down”. She agreed to step down – but after agreeing to – she kinda well, really didn’t step down at first. And in fact, she decided to give herself a raise, upping her already enormous salary to $624,000.00 a year. There was fallout from this too (her giving herself a raise amidst demands she step down).

This past year some of the fallout received by SGK has resulted in some of their “Races for the Cure” events getting cancelled.

So it all makes sense that they would rebrand themselves – and it certainly makes sense that they would drop the “race for the cure” line from their brand because lets face it – this has been no race. Giving less than 20% of nearly 400 million dollars raised in just one year to breast cancer research is not a race. And, metastatic breast cancer – the kind that actually kills – has historically only received about 2%.

No, that is not a race. That is not even a slow walk.

So, I am one of many bloggers out there who have criticized SGK. I would like to think that our voices have been heard. They have certainly responded when we yelled loud enough. And, Nancy even referred to us a few years back as “grumblers”. Well, eventually, little by little some notice is being taken . . . I think. But, I am quite suspicious (given the numbers historically and given the fact that they pretty much seem to only do the right thing when they are forced to: when not doing the right thing puts their whole existence in jeopardy). So, yeah, I am suspicious.

Incidentally, their new domain: redirects right back to them. Nicely done!

I personally have had people from Susan G. Komen’s marketing department contact me to try to convince me that Komen is in fact a good organization – or really, I think they contacted me just to get me to shut up. (If you are interested in reading more about that, see this post: Komen, Please Leave Me Alone).

So, at least SGK is no longer claiming to be “racing for a cure”. Now they are just “passionately pink”. Who doesn’t love that?

Meanwhile, excuse me while I passionately puke . . .

9 Responses to “The Re-Branding of the Susan G. Komen Foundation”

  1. Jueseppi B. October 1, 2013 at 12:24 PM #

    Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat™.

  2. Naomi Baltuck October 1, 2013 at 12:35 PM #

    I am done with SGK. I donate to Planned Parenthood. Thanks for speaking out.

    • cancerfree2b October 1, 2013 at 12:40 PM #

      Thank you! I am glad to hear it! And thank you for commenting on my post!

  3. Ashley October 1, 2013 at 1:12 PM #

    Hi There,

    Excellent post and perfectly timed. Despite the growing anti-pink cancer/Komen community, I think many are still unaware of what ISN’T being done. It shocks me how many don’t seem to question what the pink really means. And those who try to justify the objectification, too.

    I like how you really dug below the surface of all this pink hype and explained why Komen’s “work” is a problem. Breast cancer is not a marketing tool. I hope more people begin to realize this.

    I read the Komen letter you linked to here. So heartfelt and critical. Thank you. How anti-pink crusaders can be called “grumblers” I don’t understand.


    • cancerfree2b October 1, 2013 at 3:03 PM #

      Hi Ashley,

      Thank you so much for your comment. I really appreciate it and am glad to know others support this view. Yes, the “grumbler” thing was pretty hysterical at the time. We knew we had gotten Nancy Brinker’s (or someone’s) attention when she wrote an op ed online through the Sacramento Bee (hours after a bunch of traffic on blogs that were critical of her had received a high level of traffic). So, that means blogging can make a difference.

      I worry sometimes that my griping sounds like bitching and whining. But, I am tired of losing friends and seeing little children lose their moms and grandmothers to this disease. And, the sad reality to me – I think – is that perhaps, maybe, if instead of 14% of 389 million dollars (in 2010) had gone to research, that 80% had gone to research – then maybe we would be further along and some of my friends would still be alive. There are organizations that actually put more than 70% of the money raised (some even 90%) towards research. So, obviously it can be done. BUT, Komen really has the monopoly on breast cancer dollars. They make it difficult for other organizations to get money. So, they are – in my opinion – really diverting funds away from research. Sigh.

      I don’t want people to stop donating to cancer research. But, I want them to make sure that where ever their dollars are going that it goes to research or instead, help someone who is going through treatment.

      Thank you for your comment (sorry for my novel length reply)! 🙂 I appreciate your reading and your support!


  4. diplomom08 October 1, 2013 at 8:46 PM #

    I almost had trouble compiling my annual anti-pink rant this year. We are now living overseas in Nicaragua, and it is so blessedly not pink. Yes, a few things here and there, but maybe a sum total of 3 references to the month. Instead, it’s as though people realize one must be aware of everything and slapping a pink ribbon on something doesn’t mean you won’t get it. Nor does it absolve you of the ignorance that you show when you only focus on one *type* of something.

    I’m sad to be missing fall, but SO GLAD I do not have to put up with the insanity in the U.S., especially because it is just so meaningless!

  5. helensamia October 2, 2013 at 12:58 AM #

    I am now very careful where I donate my charity dollar and always check that it is for cancer research in general… I am far more aware now after all the posts re pink October!! Thanks

  6. RoniLynn October 2, 2013 at 12:23 PM #

    Reblogged this on optimism and me.


  1. South Coast Winery’s Wild Women of Wine Country kick off October’s Susan B. Komen Inland Empire events | Temecula Grapevine - October 1, 2013

    […] The Re-Branding of the Susan G. Komen Foundation ( […]

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