Even alcohol companies are getting in on the pinkwashing game…

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We’re lucky to have a guest post from Robert S. Pezzolesi, MPH, from the New York Center for Alcohol Policy Solutions.

The examples are endless: Sutter Home wine, FAT bastard wine, Global Journey wine, Pinky Vodka, Support Her Vodka, and even Mike’s Hard Lemonade.

Why would the makers of a product that raises the risk of breast cancer promote it as if it’s part of the solution?

It’s all about the marketing.

1) The alcohol industry considers women to be a key growth market.  (For example, the liquor giant Diageo has explicitly stated its intention to ramp up the marketing of vodka to “middle-aged women.”) This, despite the fact that women’s bodies are more susceptible to alcohol-related health problems than men’s.

2) Alcohol companies’ market research departments tell them that breast cancer cause marketing is an effective way to present a caring face to women.  This has been described as the “halo effect.”

But shrewd marketing campaigns do not change the cold, hard fact that alcohol consumption is a risk factor for breast cancer, even at levels that could be deemed moderate for other health risks.  One international study estimates that 9% of preventable breast cancer deaths in high-income counties are due to alcohol.

If alcohol companies truly want to show that they care about women, they should give them a break and ease up their aggressive marketing.  And, while they’re at it, they should stop undercutting legitimate breast cancer research.


  1. Posted September 30, 2010 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    Well stated! The documented proof of the affects of alcohol and breast cancer are concerning. We can support our cause to end this disease by purchasing many other products. It is important for women to be self advocates and stand up for what they believe to be right. There is power to make change when dealing with an educated Advocate..
    Don’t sink in Pink!

  2. Posted September 30, 2010 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    I too dread Brezst Cancer Awareness Month. We are already completely aware, especially those of us who have had the illness (in my own case twice). This is a month for strange entities to glom onto pink ribbons and pink whatever else they may dream up. to capitalize on breast cance and make themselves feel goodr. It pains me!!!

    Mimi Dow

  3. Susan Golinske
    Posted September 30, 2010 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    It is a symptom of the current era – marketing by way of “emotional hi-jacking,” and it appears that most companies are not above it. I challenge a present CEO of a socially responsible company to step forward in October, and separate his/her company from the greedy pack, and say, “enough is enough!”

  4. Marge
    Posted September 30, 2010 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Why can’t they offer more organic wine, beer and spirits?
    That would really show that they care.

  5. Posted September 30, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    I don’t’ mind the Pink October at all. It’s the hoopla around inappropriate sales that sets me off. As a wine lover myself, I need to share with you Marge… French, Italian, Chilian and Spanish wines are organic. The ground is centuries old and they don’t need to add the “bad stuff”… they simply aren’t marked “organic” because they would be put on a back shelf somewhere which is not pleasing. Moderation ladies!

  6. Sue Fox
    Posted September 30, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Yes, we are all very AWARE of breast cancer, I have 2 sisters who are survivors! Forget the pink and work on the reasons why this disease affects so many!

  7. Posted October 1, 2010 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Since National Cancer Institute research shows that as much as 50% of cancer risk may be related to diet….why doesn’t Susan G. Komen commit 50% of the research dollars to breast cancer prevention and nutrition research?

    I had no idea so many corporate sponsors of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure were food and beverage manufacturers.


    Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food. – Hippocrates

    Best health always,

  8. rebecca fusco
    Posted October 1, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    i never liked seeing those pink ribbons all over the place! drug companies don’t want a cure! they haven’t had a cure for anything in over 50 yrs. and thats just the way they like it, you on their drugs for the rest of your life. cancer is about prevention, keeping your cells healthy w/ good foods. cancer cannot grow in an alkaline state.look up alkaline foods. vitamin d is also important for breast cancer. good for preventing the flu also.

  9. Carla
    Posted October 2, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    I think corporations are cashing in on the emotions of women who have lost a friend or loved one to breast cancer.
    I think it’s shameful, and ther should be more inquiries into the pollution, pesticides and hormones in our food supply.

  10. Lunakin
    Posted October 3, 2010 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    I agree that the alcohol makers should not be pink-branding their products. But there are plenty of organic-food-eating, non-drinking, non-smoking, exercising, appropriate-weight women dx’d with breast cancer. I hate the over-emphasis on lifestyle interventions. It seems to imply that if you do all these good things, you won’t get breast cancer. Wrong!

    And moderate drinking reduces chances of cardiovascular mortality and morbidity. So we do have to balance everything. Confusing, and there’s always new data coming out.

  11. Adena
    Posted October 3, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    This one is just beyond words….http://www.hamiltoncollection.com/products/903057001_breast-cancer-support-motorcycle-figurine-highway.html?cm_ven=FB-HAM&cm_cat=BCAHighwayOfHope-F35-54_903057001&cm_pla=HighwayofHopeFigurine_Img-KP&cm_ite=F35-54_KW-BCA_1Step-N_Niche

  12. PinkFatigue
    Posted October 4, 2010 at 5:01 am | Permalink

    Thank you for having this blog. I get called all kinds of names because I things I say about Pinktober. I’m told I’m cold, hard, and don’t care about women. I’m a survivor; I’m the ONLY survivor in my family. I’m the only one who’s lived to tell what life after cancer is like. I do care. I care so much I won’t settle for pink M&Ms and pink chicken buckets. I won’t settle for anything that isn’t prevention; for anything that isn’t a true cure, a cure which isn’t almost as barbaric as the disease itself. Thank you for all you teach, and for staying the course.

  13. Posted October 4, 2010 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    What a great article, very well stated. I wanted to share my own little blog, where today I discussed something we all know very well… the Trendiness of the Pink Ribbon… please visit: http://howimetyourfatherblog.blogspot.com/2010/10/when-did-cancer-become-trendy.html

  14. Theresa H
    Posted October 4, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    I urge people to check out the two links below to learn more about the breast cancer industry. It really opened my eyes. I want to see more education about what women can do to prevent breast cancer in the first place, but it may be a long time before we see that. Let’s educate ourselves and then our families and friends on what we, as women, can do to prevent breast cancer in our own lives.

    “Breast Cancer Deception, an eye-opening special report by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger. This is a shocking, tell-all report that exposes the scam of today’s breast cancer industry, revealing how conventional breast cancer detection and treatment programs are actually designed to ensnare women into a very harmful (but highly lucrative) system of toxic treatments that will only cause permanent damage to her health.

    You’ve never read anything like this about breast cancer. It’s the report the industry would prefer to censor, because it contains startling truths about how the cancer industry actually feeds upon the continuation of this disease while censoring natural cancer prevention strategies that could halt 90 percent of all future cancers starting right now.”

    “Exposed: 10 Facts about the Breast Cancer Industry You’re Not Supposed to Know (opinion) by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger”

  15. Posted October 5, 2010 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    I used to be one of those who did the 3 day and raised all kinds of money for Susan G. Koman. I even sold the little pink ribbons to help raise the necessary funds. This last year January 3, 2010 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It has been a rough, awful year. I lost both of my breasts and have had extreme complications. Now, my husband has left me and filed for divorce….and has actually held over my head wether or not he will pay for my Cobra health benefits so I can continue in my treatment, reconstruction etc. It is a horrible feeling. As if cancer was not enough, now my family is falling apart too. I think the whole pink ribbon thing, is something done by people who have not really been affected by cancer but want to help…they don’t what else to do. I found that Susan G Koman did nothing for me personally in my time of need, despite that in my 3 3-days I raised almost 10,000 for them….and they say they are looking for a cure. You can read more about my dealings with BC at my blog: Outrebeautybistro.blogspot.com Heidi

  16. Jill Dupuis`
    Posted October 8, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Seriously, I can’t believe that we can do this!!! Breast cancer has a lot of causes, one might be alcohol, but what about all of the other risk factors. It can be heriditary, it could be caused by diet, it could be caused by lack of breast feeding, it could be caused by hormone replacement treatment…the list goes on and on and on…I don’t agree with the whole “pink” thing, everyone is on the bandwagon, not just the alcohol companies, but everything under the sun from vaccums to slippers. All I can say, as a breast cancer surviour is that I don’t give a shit how they raise money to do research, I just want the research done to save anyone out there who in the future might suffer what I suffered. Maybe everyone should walk a mile in those shoes!

  17. Posted June 20, 2016 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    It is appalling and criminal we have people and women getting Cancers like breast cancer and dying and the majority have no idea it causes Cancers and more harm-There are even talks of lawsuits like tobacco for failing to warn and inform the public-The Government is just as bad in avoiding and being silent and enabling more availability and more consumption and directly contributing to the Cancers and harm-As well the health and Cancer agencies and Doctor’s and other’s are failing their duty sue to the addiction and consumption and that includes many of them and the denial and so on-I am calling for a National coordinated comprehensive strategy to reduce consumption and harm and for awareness-education and prevention.The time is now to protect public health and safety and for future generations and the extensive harm and unsustainable burden to our healthcare and other services like policing etc.JMF Research BC

4 Trackbacks

  1. By Ivy Garrick on November 23, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Ivy Garrick…

    Very good blog post. Really Great….

  2. […] in donor money each year suing small charities who use the phrase “For the Cure,” and frequentlypartner with companies who don’t exactlyprioritizehealth, one has to wonder if Komen is more […]

  3. […] Month. Pinkwashing, or adding pink ribbons to products like candy bars, doughnuts and even wine, makes companies look like they care about breast cancer on the package. But what’s inside these […]

  4. […] Month. Pinkwashing, or adding pink ribbons to products like candy bars, doughnuts and even wine, makes companies look like they care about breast cancer on the package. But what’s inside these […]

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