Monday, July 11, 2011

Pretentious "Pinc Box"

I constantly get people wanting me to promote something on this blog.  As I have said before, sometimes I will if it has value to my readers.  Most I don't.  I have a post here outlining my philosophy about what I will and won't do.

I sum it up in this paragraph:

What I will not do is promote any charity whose focus is "awareness" rather than patient support or research. What I also will not do is promote your profit-making item if any donation you intend to give goes to a cause I don't believe in, or if you are donating "10%" to un-named causes. (Why is it always 10%?) Tell me what your cause is and show me your financials.

So, today I get this email (all misspellings and grammatical errors left intact):

Hi Ann,
I stumbled upon your blog and I was happy to see that you also support breast cancer. I wanted to share this infographic with you and your followers, so that we can help to educate and spread the word about the easy preventive steps to combat breast cancer.

Breast Cancer: Get the Facts, ties the importance society has given to how breast look with the lack of importance women have given to their own health. The bra industry itself is a multimillion dollar business and over 400,000 women a year choose to enhance their breasts through cosmetic surgery. And it's depressing to know that only 65% of women over 40 get a mammogram regularly. We know we all want them to look great, but let's make sure that they feel that way too.

Will you post this on your blog or Twitter to help women realize how important and easy it really is to prevent breast cancer? Please let me know what you think via, I look forward to your response!
Stephania Andrade
Off Site SEO Coordinator // FLANK MARKETING

I looked at their "infographic," which is just your normal get a mammogram notice with the stupid plastic surgery hook.

Anyway, I poked around their site some more and found the real reason for the email. They are selling a "Pinc Box" for sixty dollars. What's in the box? A bracelet made out of pink yarn and a couple of beads. A candle. A journal. Some lip balm. Some body cream. Some soap.

Sixty freaking dollars.

For crap.

But, it's all okay ladies, and you know why? Because:

To continue generating support for the community of survivors and those affected by breast cancer, Pinc Box pledges 10% of the profits from our awareness gift to Breast Cancer Research

I'm going to guess that the entire contents of their box cost wholesale, maybe 8 bucks. That leaves them with a 52.00 profit. Of that, they will give $5.00 for an unnamed cancer research.  It's a guess, but I bet I'm not that far off.

They say they will give money to "research."  I have my doubts.  Actually, I don't have any doubts, I'm pretty sure they are keeping it all for themselves.

So, to Stephania, who clearly has never read a word of my blog:  you are "happy to see that I support breast cancer?"

You are absolutely wrong.  I don't support breast cancer, I hate breast cancer. I'm going to die of breast cancer.  And, I'm sick to death of petty companies like the one that hired you, who want to profit off pain of women like me. You want to sell soap to exploit the suffering of our families, or prey on the fear other women have that they will end up like me.

It's cruel and evil to try and make a buck off the suffering of women, and I hope that someday, Stephania, you are in my shoes and know exactly what I mean.

But, it's not really Stephania who is at fault here. I did a domain search and here is the information:

Created On:12-Feb-2011 00:05:21 UTC
Last Updated On:13-Apr-2011 03:49:56 UTC
Expiration Date:12-Feb-2012 00:05:21 UTC
Sponsoring, Inc. (R91-LROR)
Registrant ID:CR75102746
Registrant Name:James Brennan
Registrant Organization:Flank Marketing
Registrant Street1:404 14th Street
Registrant City:San Diego
Registrant State/Province:California
Registrant Postal Code:92101
Registrant Country:US
Registrant Phone:+1.6197041707

Blog readers, I am calling on you to bump this post on facebook, and spread the word about this "pinc" box and tell people not to buy it.  If you want to buy your friend with breast cancer a candle, fine. I like candles too.

But, don't do it from a company who wants to profit on your friend's illness.  And, feel free to call James and tell him how you feel.


Well, Stephania, here is the blog post you wanted. I hope you like it.

I also hope you realize that by contacting me to promote your crap, you didn't do your due diligence.  I suggest you next try Gayle at Pink Ribbon Blues next.

She might really love your product.


  1. Disgusting. ANd if you really want to get annoyed, check out Susan G. Komen's financial statements. Their "program expenses" are ridiculous, as is the fact that all of their executives make six-figure incomes. Oh ... and if you need help financially, while undergoing breast cancer treatments? Don't call them because, according to their staff, "they don't do that." SGK has become nothing more than a way for the greedy people to make money off of sick people, and those who have loved ones with breast cancer. Earlier this year, it was in the news how SGK was suing smaller charities for using the term "the cure" and the color pink in some cases. What a crock. I'll never give a dime to this so-called charity. My money is best spent taking my friends to their doc appts and seeing they have money for groceries.

  2. Ugh! This kind of stuff really upsets me. SHAME ON THEM! I'm posting on my site.

  3. The kicker is they say 10% of profits... I think your $5 is way off. I realize the materials in the box probably cost $8 but then they can claim another $20-$25 for overhead/labor so the real donation in my guess would be about $2...

  4. ODL! Thanks for calling this one out Ann. It's becoming clear to me that breast cancer(tm) is now being positioned as a lifestyle brand, and tacky products like this sold as such. Your questions are perfect, and everybody needs to be on the alert, and always question if they're thinking of purchasing items like this. If there's a Non-profit organization behind the product, then use to look up their IRS forms and financials. If you don't know how to read a form 990 there's a link to a tutorial on my website. And I have breast cancer already. Why on earth would I want a breast cancer themed gift for crying out loud????

  5. Good for you Ann! This for-profit company is making big bucks exploiting breast cancer. Yeah, it's so easy to prevent breast cancer? Yeah, right.

    The whole thing sounds dirty and sickening.

  6. Hey! Good on you! I posted about this pitch last night as well:

  7. ps. this woman claims responsibility for the company being promoted:

  8. I posted my thoughts on her blog and I suggest you do too. Also, tweet this out and share it with the cancer community. That chick needs to go back to the fashion world and stup trying to make money off cancer patients.

  9. Brilliant response to what amounts to an inexperienced social media douchebag's effort to create a market for a product that should go under a steamroller.

  10. I don't support anything pink. I was very leary of Komen before my dx and now I have zero respect for them. I am tired of pink products that are supposed to be "good" but are made of plastic, likely not fair trade and probably full of environmentally hazardous (not to mention to our health) junk. I got a pink basket full of similar crud at the hospital and can't believe anyone wants or needs so much pink, plastic junk. Great post!

  11. I hope that Stephanie reads your post and this strikes a personal cord for her.

    I am so tired of people thinking I will donate to anything that has pink on it.

    When money goes to research instead awareness they'll get another 44,000 contributing to their cause. Until then, I'm out.

  12. Kudos to you for calling out this shyster company. I do hope I'm misunderstanding this part though..."It's cruel and evil to try and make a buck off the suffering of women, and I hope that someday, Stephania, you are in my shoes and know exactly what I mean." This seems pretty mean spirited. I would certainly hope that those of us who've dealt with breast cancer ourselves wouldn't wish this beast on anyone, no matter what they've done.

  13. Love this!! I'm so happy I found your blog. Give 'em hell girl!!!!!

  14. Thank you for calling out this company!

    Like another poster, I've been very wary of donating/adding to Susan G. Komen's coffers. Ann, do you have suggestions of some breast cancer patient support or research organizations that don't have such questionable "overhead" costs that people can donate time or money to?

  15. Look in your local community. My hometown has a wonderful organization that raises funds for cancer patients and all donations stay in the community to help the patients and their families. One of my friends sons had leukemia and the doctor's office has a non-profit. Every single penny donated goes to help the patients and their families. That's where I donate my money. Thanks for the post.

  16. I'm not always nice and especially not when I'm on decadron! LOL. But no, I didn't mean I wanted Stephania to die of cancer. I only wanted her to stand in my shoes and think about this for a moment. Her poorly worded letter was spammed to a bunch of breast cancer bloggers and she clearly didn't pay any attention to whether her points made sense, or what our stances on this subject are.

    The breast cancer community is not a market that is there to be tapped to make a profit. I blame Komen for that kind of thinking, with their new perfume and their pink product line.

    Now, there *are* some products that are designed to help breast cancer patients - a company sells soap for chemo-ravaged skin with built-in sunscreen. (They also give a free bar to a cancer patient.) Aqua Delight, my own sponsor, sells water but they sell it because it helps cancer patients with that ugly metallic taste, and they sell it at a reasonable price. There are companies who sell wigs, but most give a discount to cancer patients. This Pinc Box? (They can't use the word Pink because of Koman, by the way). They are just trying to capitalize on the suffering of women. Put a bunch of dollar store items in a box, wrap it up in a pink bow, and say it's a gift for breast cancer patients. We want housecleaning and somebody to cook. Put that in a box and maybe I'll promote it in a positive way.

  17. Stand Up 2 Cancer is my charity of choice. They do research and pushes medication to market. Slamen is on the board.

    Also, the AMC has directly given help to cancer patients, including me.

  18. I emailed Mr. Brennan and told him what I thought of him and what a disappointment he must be to his family. Thanks for this alert, Ann.

  19. Good catch, excellent review. I continue to learn from you day by day.

  20. Hmm it's a real toss the Komen perfume or the pinc box? Decisions decisions....
    I left my thoughts on Miss Blatt's blog too.

  21. Ann,
    I got that same email! Good for you for posting this and bringing it to the attention of your readers! Thank you!

  22. Wow, Ann, this made me snort my chai!

    Some people just don't get it, do they?

    Love the snarky reply.

  23. Gee, I wish I had known about Pincbox sooner - if only I'd known how important and easy it is to prevent breast cancer, I could have prevented it instead of getting it. Damn.

  24. Un-freakin'-real. Perfect response!! Spam responses to our blogs are taking all sorts of new and interesting forms these days, I've noticed. And don't you love that grammatically idiotic phrase, "support breast cancer?" No, of course we don't 'support' breast cancer!! We want to eradicate the stinker, not support it!

    Stephania, get a clue, will ya??

  25. It seems Miss Casey Blatt and her Flank Marketing colleague Stephania Andrade couldn't handle the criticism (obviously in over their heads) - seven critical comments were removed from Miss Blatt's blog and is in remission.

    I've blogged about these developments and included five of the seven lost comments for posterity ( Unfortunately, I didn't capture the last two before they were removed.

  26. What is with people thinking that mammograms prevent breast cancer. Mammograms are for DETECTING breast cancer, they are only an x-ray. X-rays are merely diagnostic tools to see into the body. THEY CANNOT PREVENT ANYTHING. My husband mentioned to someone he worked with that I had breast cancer, and the person's naive reply was, "Well geez, didn't she get mammograms?" So irritating--this was a college-educated person. I suppose if you have enjoyed perfect health your whole life and have never had anything wrong with you, you might not be aware of the latest medical technology and what it's used for, but come ON.

  27. I applaud your honesty and willingness to out this person. I stopped believing in all of these pink-washers "awareness" charities years ago when a friend was collecting donations for her run. Then I found out those donations paid for her hotel, food, travel...basically my donation would have helped my former friend have an all-expenses paid vacation at a Florida theme resort in exchange for - well - she said she was supposed to actually run but there was no penalty for not finishing!! Back then, no one ever spoke out against these organizations!! THANK YOU!!

  28. Love it, love it, love it! I get these all the time and have never responded to one of them until last week, and then I unloaded on her. She sent it to Brenda Coffee/BreastCancerSisterhood, but in her letter, she said "Hi Marie O'Connor/JourneyBeyondBreastCancer, I really like your blog." I suppose Marie got mine. LOL!!

  29. As if to show they were in over their head, Miss Blatt and Stephania Andrade have failed to acknowledge what happened much less issued an apology for offending the community they thought they were serving. And they work for a digital marketing agency???

  30. You go, lady! Will you join me in the Battle for October this year? Go to my blog, then there are two categories (in the right column): Boycott October and Pink Ribbons.

    I have fun making fun of this crap.

    Looks like it's starting earlier than usual this year. Sigh.


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