I walk into my local Kroger and next to the cart wipes is a picture of a Kroger employee, pink background, breast cancer story. Traffic flows to the right, through the pink bouquets of flowers and pink ribbon mylar balloons. All through the store I see shelf tags that say “Giving Hope A Hand” and at the end of the self-checkout there is a whole wall of these products, adorned in special edition pink. That’s where I snapped the pink ribbon booze picture the other day.
Last week, I posted guidelines to vet these pink ribbon campaigns. I think it’s best to start with what’s in front of you and with one teenager, one near-teenager, and a husband who sometimes thinks he’s a teenager, I spent a lot of time at Kroger.
And I know you do too because I see you there.
So what is this Giving Hope a Hand? I pulled up the weekly flyer from Kroger’s website:
Ok, we have the ribbon, some soda, chips, cookies, and a few other items. I still don’t really see details, so I click on their option to see more detail.
Apparently, “we” are donating $3 million to local organizations in support of a cure.
I would think the “we” is Kroger, but there are also participating brands, so maybe that’s the total pledged by participating organizations. And Kroger?
And local where? Kroger is headquartered in our fair Queen City, but located all over the country. What communities get the money and how much?
What does “in support of the cure” mean? How does this program decide who gets the money and who makes the decisions? If you think the website will give you details, think again. Just more brand logos, pink ribbons, and the occasional misleading fact.
And nowhere does it say that the $3,000,000 is contingent upon you buying the festooned mac and cheese versus the mac and cheese without a pink ribbon.
So what is really going on here?
It’s an advertising campaign.
Aren’t we noble with our philanthropy? Buy our products and you, too, can be noble and deserving of many pats on the back. What? You want to know what we’re actually doing? Never mind. Just know we’re good and you are too. Everyone gets a pink trophy.
If you want to know more about these pink campaigns, check out After Five Years’ post on the psychology of pink. Develop some awareness of how we are manipulated by marketing campaigns.