When Favorite Brands Go to the Dark Side

WacoalThe issue first came up a couple of years ago, actually, but I really didn’t have time to deal with it then. It was just weeks before my son’s bar mitzvah and I was in dire need of a pair of black jeans. I headed to the store, tried on half a dozen pair hoping to find one that would not require tailoring (yeah, right) and choose one. Phew!

As I sat in the dressing room waiting for the tailor to pin the jeans I saw it. It had actually been tucked in a back pocket so I missed it at first. The tag. NYDJ had jumped onto the pink bandwagon and become a Komen supporter. Ouch.

Don’t tell anyone, but I bought the jeans.

Fast forward. I’ve been inundated with work – professional and volunteer – and trying desperately to catch up lately. (It’s one of a few reasons I haven’t been blogging much, so thanks for your understanding). Well, as luck would have it, tonight I finished a major project and I wanted to kicked back!

Hello, RealSimple. Just me, the couch and the glossy pages ripe and ready to get me ready for fall. Yahoo!

Flipping through the fall fashion pages, page 81 to be exact, BAM! Wacol has a full page, pink ad. That’s fine, no worries. Until I read the small print: Wacoal is a proud sponsor of Susan G. Komen. My condolences, Wacoal, but Susan is dead, and I will venture to guess YOU are sponsoring Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and THEY are not one of my favorite charities.

Wacoal, of course, is as entitled to their choices as I am mine, and I respect that. But is leaves me asking – what do you do when your favorite brands go to the Dark Side of pink?

For what it’s worth, it truly does make me think twice, it makes me question their judgement, and it often leaves me to find another brand (and I must say, I’m pretty happy I don’t need new bras right now!). But here’s the thing: if I jump off the Wacoal ship, so what? Who cares? Who besides me and the person processing my Nordstrom credit card even knows???

In the world of pink activism (and really, it’s not just about pink), it’s time to start speaking up. As a teenager I boycotted Nestle products because of their infant formula practices in Third World countries, had to wait for more than 30 minutes to get a pizza when Domino’s supported anti-choice causes, and more recently I quietly stopped shopping at Target when they made donations to anti-Gay marriage candidates. But in none of these cases did I inform the company what I was doing or why. Passive protest is easy, but letting companies and even organizations know why we make the consumer choices we do is our only shot at a meaningful impact.

“Dear Wacoal….”

What do YOU do when your favorite brands let you down?

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11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. vtashman
    Aug 18, 2013 @ 13:00:54

    You’re bringing up a great point. How do we become 1 voice that these big companies will listen to? I think Breast Cancer Action is playing a big role in this and maybe it’s time we all joined their bandwagon.

    Reply

  2. Susan
    Aug 18, 2013 @ 16:33:21

    Especially when it comes to Komen there are major national sponsors involved including Bank of America, American Airlines, ReMax, Ford, New Balance Athletic Shoes, Yoplait, etc. Reading this has me wondering what the best solution is when it comes to Komen. I find it easy to skip on the yoghurt and athletic shoes but its hard to boycot American Airlines if they are going where I need to at the right price. I think this issue is quite complicated. At the same time I really respect the way that Breast Cancer Action doesn’t have corporate sponsors. Yet at the same time without them for some other organizations that I really respect, I am sure there are financial concerns. This one is quite complicated. You raise excellent questions with this post!

    Reply

  3. AnneMarie
    Aug 19, 2013 @ 07:32:54

    I was thinking the same thing as I was purchasing my calcium supplements. On principal, I refused to buy the brand I’ve been taking for years. This goes beyond simply supporting any organization. There was no mention of how much money was being donated or if there was a cap on the amount. All of these things matter. I’m getting a headache thinking about what is about to happen. Just like Christmas decorations will be in the stores shortly, the pinkification of our landscape is hitting the shelves now. No longer just a month, it feels like an entire season. UGH….

    Reply

  4. nancyspoint
    Aug 19, 2013 @ 09:06:59

    Great question – what does one do when your favorite brands go to the dark side? Everyone has to make decisions based on personal values I guess. It’s hard to fight the big pink wave – and it seems each year the wave gets a bit bigger.

    Reply

  5. BlondeAmbition
    Aug 19, 2013 @ 14:11:02

    Personally, I think Twitter and Facebook are pretty powerful but I’d love to see an organization (#BCSM or Breast Cancer Consortium, perhaps) host a conference or even a webinar inviting companies who conduct such campaigns to participate/attend to learn about the lack of transparency and where their money is actually going (i.e. this is NOT limited to SGK, though they have created the model and are one of the worst offenders). The goal would be to help them create programs that go beyond slapping a ribbon on a product and feeling they’ve done their share. Creating action beyond awareness. Without a paying job, this isn’t something I can put on my plate, but corporate philanthropy marketing is definitely on my search radar.

    Reply

  6. Leora Raikin
    Aug 19, 2013 @ 15:16:55

    Amazing article- well written- great comments

    Reply

  7. thinkgood
    Sep 21, 2013 @ 07:26:13

    Reblogged this on Think Good Inc..

    Reply

  8. AfternoonNapper
    May 16, 2016 @ 21:46:38

    Well, I replaced Chick-fil-A with KFC by asking for the Chicken Little combo with extra pickles. 😉

    Perhaps what we need is to open up the idea to everyone who wants to support or not support a company for any given reason. We like to think of ourselves as socially conscious, and, I’m on board with you regarding Komen, but could we get traction for an app that allowed people to choose which companies they want to support based on their values — whether or not we agree with their values. I know that for every person like me there’s someone else making an extra trip to Chick-fil-A. If we were all more informed about companies’ values and directed our economic power as a result, that could do much to change what’s offered to whom and why. It has to be easier for people to learn about company values in order to effect mass change. While some app developer somewhere gets on that idea, here are a few other apps to help. http://bit.ly/1YxuJBg

    Reply

  9. AfternoonNapper (@AfternoonNapper)
    May 16, 2016 @ 21:47:19

    Well, I replaced Chick-fil-A with KFC by asking for the Chicken Little combo with extra pickles. 😉

    Perhaps what we need is to open up the idea to everyone who wants to support or not support a company for any given reason. We like to think of ourselves as socially conscious, and, I’m on board with you regarding Komen, but could we get traction for an app that allowed people to choose which companies they want to support based on their values — whether or not we agree with their values. I know that for every person like me there’s someone else making an extra trip to Chick-fil-A. If we were all more informed about companies’ values and directed our economic power as a result, that could do much to change what’s offered to whom and why. It has to be easier for people to learn about company values in order to effect mass change. While some app developer somewhere gets on that idea, here are a few other apps to help. http://bit.ly/1YxuJBg

    Reply

    • Lori
      Nov 24, 2016 @ 02:44:32

      You remind me that I once had a consumer book that was essentially a large spreadsheet. There were maybe 15 categories on which each company was evaluated, like social justice and environmental practices. It allowed me to make exactly the decisions you’re suggesting, and to see the trade-offs. I think I had it back in high school – I wonder if something similar exists today…

      Reply

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