A shopping item from The Detroit Free Press ran in my local paper this weekend, touting the inevitable pinkwashing that goes on during October – Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As a survivor myself, I fully support awareness, mammograms and health insurance that covers annual exams for women. However, like a good annual physical, it pays to cover all the bases-including faux philanthropy by corporations.
The title was ‘pink’ products that really give back. It began with a brief note to check out any charity recipients of product sales on charitynavigator.com, then went on to highlight 5 products to that “caught the writer’s eye.”
I want to single out one of the suggestions in particular-for True Religion Halle Super Skinny Breast Cancer Awareness Jeans retailing for $198 a pair. Again, quoting from the “article”/marketing puff piece, “The company will donate 10 percent from the sale of each pair of these skinnys to Susan G Komen for the Cure, with a minimum donation of $35,000.” That means they are willing to give 10 percent of the proceeds from 1,767 pairs of jeans to Susan G Komen, a company still reeling from branding problems of its’ own. How many hours of sales is that?
$35,000 is a shockingly low number for a donation from a corporation with $467 million in sales last year (2012). In July 2013 True Religion was acquired by a hedge fund, aka a ‘private equity fund’, called TowerBrook this year for $824 million. (The stock had traded under the symbol TRLG until the merger.)
A donation of .0042% of the sales price-824 million dollars! Very generous indeed, True Religion!
(As 82% of the funds at Susan G Komen go to the “cure”, the real number going to “support breast cancer” is $28,700.)
Note: To my knowledge, I have never owned any shares of TRLG in the past, as individual shares or in a mutual fund. I am not now invested in any private equity funds.
- Pink envelopes Metropolitan Park during Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Saturday (jacksonville.com)
- WTF Internet? A tweeting bra is not helping cure breast cancer (digitaltrends.com)
- The PinkSploitation of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (upperstclair.patch.com)
- True Religion Breast Cancer Awareness Jeans – The Halle in Pink Ribbon (denimblog.com)