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October 6, 2005

News & Opinion: The Power of the Purse--the Power of Pink

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 2:30 PM – Filed under: Marketing & Sales

Color choice has often been a big concern among companies trying to target women. Do you use pastels--pink in particular--when you are trying to attract women? Conventional wisdom has held that when in doubt stay away from pink.
But conventional wisdom can be wrong...and it now appears that pink is tremendously powerful. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and everywhere you look there's pink. Pink became the color of choice to raise awareness about breast cancer back in 1992. It was a takeoff of the red ribbon that symbolized AIDS research. Today, the campaign has exploded in a plethora of pink products--and helped raise $100s of millions of dollars for cancer research. Of course, there are potential problems for marketers who are trying to jump into the cause's marketing machine--especially if they aren't truly committed to the cause. Today's New York Times has an excellent article on how difficult it can be to find out just how much of the money is really goes to breast cancer research--and how consumers are beginning to do their homework before they buy pink breast cancer products. Check out http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/06/fashion/thursdaystyles/06skin.html for a look at the issue and a rundown of all the pink products out there this month.
So it appears that the use of pink for breast cancer research has helped break the prohibition on using pink in pitching products to women--or maybe we've just gotten more comfortable with our feminine sides.
Indeed, where once a pink product would have been considered a condescending pat on the head to women, today pink has taken on a position of power. The shift is most notable on the newstands where a new women's business magazine proudly proclaims that its name is Pink and it's proud of it. PINK's tagline is: the color women are wearing in the 21st century. For an explanation of why the magazine's founder choice Pink for the magazine's name, check out http://www.pinkmagazine.com/about/index.html.
So what do you think of the new "power pink?" Does color really matter when it comes to pitching products to women? Let me know what you think of pink.

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.