Turning a Charity Symbol Into a Corporate Logo

From The New York Times:  http://movies.nytimes.com/2012/06/01/movies/pink-ribbons-inc-a-documentary-about-breast-cancer.html

‘Pink Ribbons, Inc.,’ a Documentary About Breast Cancer

Published: May 31, 2012

In “Pink Ribbons, Inc.” the director Léa Pool takes aim at the breast cancer movement and the corporations that benefit from its ubiquitous rosy symbol of awareness and action. Yet for all the stellar intentions; revelatory evidence; and thoughtful, wall-to-wall interviewees, this frustratingly overstuffed documentary indulges more in spraying buckshot than stalking a target.

This is a pity, because the film highlights legitimate concerns that others, notably the medical sociologist Gayle Sulik, have been digging into for years, including the questionable commingling of marketing and philanthropy and the prioritization of pharmaceutical solutions over prevention. Casting a pink veil of positivity over a dark and dreadful disease, we are told, encourages the myth of progress and distracts from treatment options that remain limited to what Dr. Susan Love calls “slash, burn and poison” and mortality rates that have barely altered in six decades.

Depressing statistics, however, don’t sell products. Arguing forcefully that corporate sponsorship of this so-called pink culture is more likely to fatten bottom lines — or rehabilitate a damaged image — than result in a cure, Ms. Pool wonders who is being served by a fuchsia Niagara Falls or a blushing bucket of KFC. But though poking indignantly at the close ties between nonprofit giants like Susan G. Komen for the Cure and, for example, large chemical companies whose goals are unlikely to include investing in explorations of suspected links between cancer and pollution, the film fails to offer substantive financial analyses. Where, exactly, do all these millions in charitable donations go? There may well be too many players to track, but Komen’s detailed financial statements, freely available on its Web site, might be a good place to begin.

Complete article at:  http://movies.nytimes.com/2012/06/01/movies/pink-ribbons-inc-a-documentary-about-breast-cancer.html

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