Raise a Stink! Campaign Summary

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Thank you so much to to everyone who took action against pinkwashing and for women’s health during this year’s Think Before You Pink® campaign. We are excited to report back to you about the campaign’s results and successes.

The Problem

For 10 years Breast Cancer Action’s Think Before You Pink® campaign has called out pinkwashers, which put profits before women’s lives. Pinkwashing reached a new low in 2011 with “Promise Me;” a perfume commissioned by the giant of the breast cancer movement Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Through independent laboratory testing, BCAction discovered that Promise Me contains unlisted chemicals that: (a) are regulated as toxic and hazardous, (b) have not been adequately evaluated for human safety, and (c) that have demonstrated negative health effects. Together we took on Komen’s pinkwashing, and your actions resulted in a huge success!

Raise a Stink! Campaign Goals

On September 27, we launched our Raise a Stink! campaign asking the public to send letters to Komen urging them to (a) recall Promise Me perfume and (b) sign BCAction’s Pledge to Prevent Pinkwashing in order to:

1) Draw attention to the issue of pinkwashing and our ongoing Think Before You Pink® work to raise public awareness and change the conversation;

2) Engage activists to send letters to Komen leadership urging them to stand with women affected by and at risk of breast cancer;

3) Hold Komen accountable and urge them to act to ensure that the products they sell in the name of breast cancer do not increase a woman’s risk of the disease.

Raise a Stink! Results

1) BCAction received unprecedented nationwide and overwhelmingly favorable media coverage!  We were quoted and featured in Marie Claire magazine, the New York Times, the Dallas Morning News, the Chicago Tribune, and NPR’s On Point, among other media outlets.

2) 4,915 people sent letters to Komen leadership

3) Komen issued a public statement “in response to questions raised about ingredients in Promise Me perfume.”

Raise a Stink! Successes

Raise a Stink! marked several successes in putting people before profits, demanding accountability in breast cancer fundraising, and empowering consumers. This campaign educated the public about the unlisted chemicals in Komen’s Promise Me perfume and raised awareness about the issue of pinkwashing. We also equipped the public with tools and specific actions to take to ensure that companies are not exploiting women’s good intentions and selling products linked to an increased risk of the disease. Together we:

1) Demanded accountability from Komen which was forced to respond with a public statement in recognition of the fact that eyes are on them as they move forward with a reformulation of the perfume for release next year.

2) Engaged and empowered activists for women’s health as people across the country turned their outrage to action and shared with friends and families.

3) Changed the conversation about Breast Cancer Awareness Month and pinkwashing as public outcry drew the media’s attention nationwide.

Together we’ll continue to change the conversation about breast cancer so we can end the epidemic. Thank you for your continued support.


  1. Posted November 23, 2011 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    I worked as a volunteer fundraiser for Komen for 6 years and eventually decided that my personal integrity was more important to me than all the money I could raise for this organization. I never respected the way Komen used volunteers but at the time rationalized that the cause was more important than my opinion. I greatly admire what your organization is doing and I really think that you are making a difference. keep up the great work.

  2. mg
    Posted November 23, 2011 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    so what was the statement Komen released to the press.?

  3. Posted November 23, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Was there a statement after the initial one by SGK – that only cryptically stated that women’s health was their first priority, and that all ingredients in Promise Me are FDA approved? Has there been a substantive response by SGK? Details would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  4. Jo
    Posted December 3, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    I just checked the ShopKomen.com website http://www.shopkomen.com/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=1687
    Why is Promise Me perfume still available for purchase???

  5. willy
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Promise Me along with all manner of crap is still for sale on the Komen website. Sick to my stomach.

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