Hiding Politics in Plain Sight: Cause Marketing, Corporate Influence, and Breast Cancer Policymaking
As late as the 1980s, breast cancer was a stigmatized disease, so much so that local reporters avoided using the word breast in their stories and early breast cancer organizations steered clear of it in their names. But activists with business backgrounds began to partner with corporations
for sponsored runs and cause-marketing products, from which a portion of the proceeds would benefit breast cancer research. Branding breast cancer as pink--hopeful, positive, uncontroversial--on the products Americans see every day, these activists and corporations generated a pervasive
understanding of breast cancer that is widely shared by the public and embraced by policymakers. Clearly, they have been successful: today, more Americans know that the pink ribbon is the symbol of breast cancer than know the name of the vice president.
Hiding Politics in Plain Sight examines the costs of employing market mechanisms--especially cause marketing--as a strategy for change. Patricia Strach suggests that market mechanisms do more than raise awareness of issues or money to support charities: they also affect politics. She shows that