Wednesday, October 8, 2008

It's Alive! And it's Pink!

I got to thinking that it was time we did another Pink Ribbon Product Review!  So I went to the grocery store, just hoping if I searched hard enough I could find a product with a pink ribbon on it.

Well it was difficult but I did find a few (thousand) items.  

One of the earlier and more famous pink ribbon product campaign schemes ah, programs was brought to us by Yoplait.  

Before we commence with our review I should disclose that Yoplait has irritated me for years.  When the standard yogurt serving was 8 ounces, Yoplait came along and sold us 6 ounce containers with false bottoms for the same price.  Not quite in the category of deception since presumably most of us can distinguish between an 8 and a 6; but certainly worthy of an eye roll.

Those of us who enjoy putting our yogurt in a bowl and mixing with fruit and/or granola must tussle with the inverted shape and the annoying little ridge along the top of the rim.  Again, not a serious problem, but just a pesky reminder that Yoplait apparently values form over function.  

When the news stations breathlessly and semi-hysterically reported that raccoons and rats were getting their little scavenger heads caught inside the Yoplait containers at landfills across the nation, I assumed the package was about to be retooled.  No such luck.  There is, however, an advisory on the package that reads: 



We buy Yoplait because my husband and children insist it is a vastly superior product to Dannon.  I will admit that when you open a Yolait you will very rarely see it separated with watery yogurt on top and clumpy yogurt on bottom.  So Yoplait wins points on homogenizing!

As always, when doing a Pink Ribbon Product Review here at Team H.O.P.E. we must evaluate the pinkness of the item.      

Both of these pictures are bad - but they are better than the ones I took.  The lids are pinker than they appear in the top pic and shinier than they appear in the bottom pic.  Basically the lids are pink and shiny and metallic!  I love them.   Yoplait gets full points for pinkness!

The next question we always ask refers to the actual contribution to the cause.    Yoplait donates .10 per label, which on a .55 container is pretty generous!  

The catch is that they do not donate per container sold, they donate per label mailed in.  I seriously began to suspect that this whole thing had nothing to do with Breast Cancer and was simply a government plot to increase post office revenues.  Then I took my medication and realized this is  most likely a legitimate joint venture.  

Here is info from Yoplait:

10 cents to Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, up to $1.5 million. And we guarantee a donation of at least $500,000.

So a million dollars lies in the balance.  Which is 10 million labels.  Which is a chunk of postage, which makes me wonder if maybe this isn't a government plot to .. . . . .

Sorry.  Anyway, I hate mailing things in.  I've quit buying items with mail in rebates because I know I will find the receipt and the form (half filled out in Pink Sharpie marker) stuck in a drawer next year.  For the past I don't know how many years my boys have saved the pink lids and dutifully washed them and dutifully scolded me for throwing mine away.  And they've sat on the counter (the labels, not the boys) until after the final date and then been thrown away - making me feel like I just sold the mammogram machine at the free clinic for scrap iron!  

And I suspect I'm not alone here.  When I don't buy a product that is attached to a cause I don't feel particularly guilty.  I do charitable work and am basically uncomfortable with the level of consumerism in our culture - so not buying something for a good cause is the easiest thing in the world.  I'm also okay with buying something I needed/wanted anyway and knowing a few cents are going to a good cause.  Or even a mediocre cause.  

Where Yoplait messes with me is having the requirements that I do more. It's like there is $1.50 in my fridge right now that belongs to Susan G and I'm just going to throw it away.  That hurts!   So most people would say, "Send in the labels and quit complaining!"  Well, yeah.  If I could find an envelope and a stamp and a pen and that other handful of labels I put somewhere. . . . 

So I normally just refuse to buy pink labeled Yoplait.  Why did I buy some this week?  I wasn't thinking.  As immersed as I am in the whole pink ribbon culture I just plain forgot that I don't do the Yoplait thing.  It was on sale, we were out of yogurt, and Hungry Girl had been pretty enthusiastic about their new cake flavors.  So I unthinkingly loaded up my cart.

Here is the flavor we are reviewing today:

Only with the pink lid.  

This yogurt is thick and creamy.  And tangy*.  I'm a major chocolate fiend but I hate chocolate yogurt because that tang is off-putting in chocolate.  In pineapple it is a bonus!  But this isn't just pineapple yogurt; it is Pineapple Upside-down Cake yogurt.  Yes, you can almost taste the brown sugar and butter.  It obviously isn't going to replace cake anytime soon but it is pretty darned yummy!  

So on taste, texture, and color (pale creamy natural yellow) this product is a winner. 

Between the danger to racoons and the idea of money just going into the recycling bin I cannot recommend this product wholeheartedly - but I do plan on having another carton of it as soon as I finish this post! 

*the tanginess is due to having "live and active cultures".  Live AND active?  Implying the cultures could be live but lethargic?  Or worse yet, dead and active?  Yombie Yogurt Culture?

Yeah, I'm thinking this review is pretty much over!  Have a sweet and culturally satisfying day!

PS - Yoplait wouldn't be using sex to sell yogurt would they?

For the record - I don't know who this faceless chick is but I assure you she is not one of the real H.O.P.E. ladies!



Jeannie said...

Just so you have a few Yoplait pink ribbon lid options. #1 Give me your lids. My oldest son's social studies teacher is collecting them and will mail them all in. #2 Take them to (creepy) Fry's where there is a bin you can deposit them into. boys prefer Yoplait also.


I almost deliberately knocked over a display of Breast CA frickin' Tic Tacs in the store the other day...I mean REALLY??? Pink frickin' Tic Tacs?

Blushing for a cause
By Mary Beckman
November 05, 2007 in print edition F-3

For people whose favorite color is pink, October was a great month. Others may have been wondering where all those suddenly pink products come from and how much money they bring in for breast cancer research and treatment. Concerns have also been raised recently about whether unscrupulous companies might be taking advantage of people’s desire to donate to worthy causes during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Here’s a closer look at the purveyors of pink.

Yogurt, hairbrushes, crackers, eye shadow: Consumer items (or their packaging) have a habit of turning pink in October. This hue change started 23 years ago, when people concerned about breast cancer started the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month – NBCAM. “It was a movement to educate people about breast cancer and the importance of early detection,” says Donna Huang, a spokeswoman for NBCAM who also works at AstraZeneca, a company that makes breast cancer therapy products.

Marketing strategists point to the pink campaign as the most successful example of “cause marketing,” or selling products by connecting their purchase to a worthy cause.

Nonprofit organizations that fund breast cancer research or provide support to cancer patients, such as the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Susan G. Komen Foundation and CancerCare, participate in NBCAM as a way to bring in revenue. TicTac, for example, will donate $100,000 to CancerCare from sales of pink breath mints during September and October, says Diane Blum of CancerCare and one of the founding members of NBCAM.

Not all products are actually pink. They can have pink packaging, be marked with a pink ribbon or simply state that the purchase of the product will raise money for breast cancer awareness. (And not everything pink raises money for breast cancer groups. Victoria’s Secret’s Pink label, for example, is just a color.)

Although the nonprofits don’t sell the products, they tell consumers how they can buy them, how much money is being donated, and how long the promotion lasts. “We call it ‘clear and conspicuous disclosure,’ ” says Karen White, manager for cause marketing at Komen. “We’re making sure consumers have all the information they need.”

The organizations’ websites are also a way to make sure companies really are donating to the cause.

The donated amount varies. Some of the pink products on the Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s website are:

Conair hair dryers. Between 50 cents and $1 per dryer – and a minimum of $100,000 from the company – goes to the foundation.

KitchenAid mixers. Donations are $50 per pink mixer, and the pink ones don’t cost more than the other colors. (This isn’t always the case for such products. You’ll pay 14 cents extra for an awareness postage stamp.)

Sony portable DVD players. $10 a pop goes to BCRF.

Dyson vacuum cleaners. The foundation gets $40, half from Dyson, half from Target.

The pink marketing strategy brings in a lot of money for nonprofits, but no one keeps track of it as a whole, Blum says. “We have no idea how much money is being raised,” she says. Komen brought in $58 million last year from the pink marketing campaigns of companies it partners with. This represents about 20% of Komen’s revenue, White says. (Komen funded $77 million in research last year, second only to the federal government. It also spends money on education and treatment in communities.)

BCRF says it raised $35 million last year, $15 million of it through pink products, and gave more than 90 cents of each dollar to research and awareness programs. CancerCare says it expects to raise at least $125,000 this year from pink Tic Tacs, tweezers and staplers.

Reputable funding organizations are careful about whom they partner with in the pink campaign. “We turn away [companies] if we think their heart is not in the right place or if they’re doing it for the wrong reason,” says BCRF spokeswoman Anna DeLuca.

But critics still worry that the awareness month allows anyone wanting to jump on the breast cancer fundraising bandwagon to do so, whether it’s a business selling a product or an individual putting together a money-raising golf game. “Folks can decide to have an event and take the NBCAM logo off our website and use it,” Huang says. Companies can donate as much or little as they want, although larger groups such as BCRF work with a business to come up with what both partners think is fair.

This lack of regulation has some advocacy groups seeing red. Breast Cancer Action has said companies might be exploiting the cause to pad profits. It advises consumers to evaluate whether their purchase will make a difference.

Some states have full-disclosure regulations for companies that want to interact with nonprofits, White says. She says consumers can ask the attorney general’s office in their state to find out what regulations exist where they live. Komen and groups such as Breast Cancer Action have guidelines on their websites that can help people ask the right questions.

Although breast cancer interests benefit greatly from pink, some people think the attention is overblown. “My concern, as the director of an organization that works with all kinds of cancers,” Blum says, “is that it’s worthy but disproportionate.” Lung cancer, she says, is the main cancer killer for women. “Far more women die of lung cancer each year than from breast, ovarian and cervical cancers combined,” she says.

I'm sorry, but I say ENOUGH on the Pink Cause...throw me some ORANGE and BROWN crap over here! LMAO Oh, and give me a full friggin' month to sell the stuff in...not just some obscure week in March.

Linda D. in Seattle