I stumbled upon a Ron White – The Foot Shoppe the other day. Perhaps it was the chocolate brown tee with pink ribbon that caught my eye. If you’ve been reading Bargainista for awhile, you should know how supportive I am of pink products but something about this bothered me.
The name of the store was front and centre in big bold white type right across the chest. The pink ribbon was secondary. Was this drawing attention to a cause near and dear to me or was a retailer leveraging his brand on the coat tails of Breast Cancer Awareness Month?
I walked inside and saw a big sign promoting the tees above a table display of “Ron White” water bottles, pink ribbon cookies, a pink shoe ($10 of the sale of each pair going to a breast cancer charity) and those brown Ron White tees with the pink ribbons. I spoke to the friendly salesperson about the shirts. “How much are they?” I asked, “Aren’t they just another form of blatant advertising?” “The shirts are $20 each, and the entire amount is going to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation” she replied cheerfully, “Isn’t that great?” She told me this whole story about how Ron’s aunt helped him start his business and this was his way of saying thanks and publicizing the store. Huh?
I learned Mr. White was trying to raise the bar and encourage other retailers to donate 100% of the proceeds they raised from the sale of pink merchandise to the cause. His intent is admirable and on many levels he’s doing a wonderful thing.
But let’s not kid ourselves. Most companies participating in Breast Cancer Awareness Month and other charitable tie-ins are generating lots of publicity and PR. Several of them only donate a small percentage of the proceeds generated by their product tie-ins. It’s just the other pink products (and red ones too) seem to be putting the cause first.
What do you think?