Colour me pink

Any marketing campaign that convinces a male Aussie cricket team to dress completely in pink must be doing something right

Colour can be an enormously powerful marketing tool, as any Diploma in Marketing student worth their salt will tell you. And there's no greater example of this than the use of pink to raise awareness of breast cancer and funding for research. And the humble pink ribbon is the star of the show here.

The pink ribbon wasn't the first awareness ribbon out there. It was preceded by the HIV/AIDS red ribbon by about 12 months. But the pink ribbon is almost certainly the most well known and recognizable. And the most effective. Any marketing campaign that convinces a male Aussie cricket team to dress completely in pink must be doing something right.

For many of us, the colour pink can evoke the feminine side of things. And this includes the women in our lives, especially those who've been touched by breast cancer. As October is the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Australians will be showered with everything pink, while exposed to the many different initiatives and events all focusing on raising awareness and donations for this worth cause.

But a pretty coloured ribbon was never going to be enough to raise awareness on its own. Part of the pink ribbon's enormous success has been due to some more traditional marketing initiatives as well.

Celebrity Endorsement

The traditional marketing definition of celebrity endorsement tends to involve using the status and reputation of celebrities to enhance a brand (like Nicole Kidman endorsing Chanel). However, celebrities touched by breast cancer are using their personal experiences to raise awareness and funding.

The stories of Australian celebrities who've survived breast cancer, like Kylie Minogue and Olivia Newton-John, have successfully encouraged thousands of women to get tested. Other celebrities we remember for their courage and fighting will, such as Jane McGrath and Belinda Emmett, continue to help raise funding through their own foundations even after they lost their own respective battles with the disease. High-octane international celebrities also provide a reminder of breast cancer's indiscriminate nature, such as Angelina Jolie's recent decision for a double mastectomy to eliminate any genetic risks of the disease.

Research and Development

The old adage rings true - prevention is better than cure. The National Breast Cancer Foundation has successfully identified the areas in which donations are making a difference such as research and development. According to the NBCF website research has contributed to reducing the mortality rate by 50% in the last 20 years.

Corporate Backing

In addition to individual donations, organisations are increasing their sponsorship and affiliations with charities. While their motives are pretty much the same as it is for individuals, there's a clear win-win situation for organisations. Affiliating with charities can no doubt improve corporate image and brand while assisting charities to generate much-needed donations.

We love the women in our lives

By far, the desire to donate toward this disease is our love for the women in our lives. At least that's the justification used by the growing number of men wearing pink. While awareness of male-related cancers is also increasing and successfully capturing a share of donations, men have a soft-spot for the women in their lives. Participating in fundraising events by wearing pink (such as chosen cricket events for the Jane McGrath Foundation) is now being marketed as the manly thing to do.

NBCF's fundraising efforts

Today is Pink Ribbon Day. It's estimated that millions of dollars will be generated through the selling of ribbons, novelties and other events such as Girls' Night In. The Breast Cancer Foundation has created unique ways to generate funds such as events and a range of DIY fundraising ideas.

The pink power will continue until a cure for breast cancer is found. Hopefully that will be in our generation. In the mean time we can enjoy the initiatives and events and continue to support and generate funds toward this worthy cause.

And never underestimate the marketing power of colour for getting an important message across.