Hearne: Columnist’s ‘Seeing Red Over Pink’ Points Finger at Star

Talk about the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing….

A prime example of that is evidenced in a recent column by Kansas City Star features columnist Jeneé Osterheldt about the bogus use of the color pink  to sell stuff during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

“Yes, I’m all about women’s issues, and breast cancer awareness is a recurring topic in my column,” Osterheldt writes. “But the color becomes blinding when big corporations slap pink on any and everything to hustle their products.”

Osterheldt’s reasoning is sound.

“For some products, very little money goes to the cure,” she continues. “Or the company has already given a flat donation and still slaps pink on products to play on the consumer’s conscience. The key is doing the research before you throw down your dollars.”

Excellent point, as echoed by many of the 15 comments on the Star‘s web site.

Just one problem.

The “big corporation” Osterheldt works at – as in the newspaper – is guilty of the very thing she rails about.

All month long the Star has been running giant pink ads in the print edition of the newspaper urging readers to “Make a difference…shop for a cause!”at its DealSaver daily deal site.

“In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with every DealSaver purchased in the month of October, The Star will make a donation to: Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Back in the Swing and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer,” the ads read.

Meaning that ostensibly today’s gun range deal at Powder Creek and offers for half off at the Peachtree restaurant and the purchase of several other deals will result in money being donated to those organizations.

Trouble is, “We all have to think before we pink,” Osterheldt says. “Be sure you are supporting this cause and not some corporation’s bottom line.”

Yet nowhere in any of the Star‘s print ads or on its DealSaver site are any specifics of the newspaper’s “donation” explained or laid out.

Lamer yet, there’s not a single patch of “pink” or any reference whatsoever to Breast Cancer Awareness Month or any donation being made to the above organizations referenced for any of the listed deals on the DealSaver site.

Nor any explanation that or exactly what is being donated to the cause of breast cancer.

Meaning that people already signed up to DealSaver and already getting the daily deal emails would have no clue whatsoever that part of their purchases might be going to a good cause.


Osterheldt refers readers to the web site Think Before You Pink as a means of insuring their purchases will truly benefit finding a cure for breast cancer.

Think Before You Pink’s take on the topic:

“Does any money from this purchase go to support breast cancer programs? How much?

“Any company can put a pink ribbon on its products. The widely recognized pink ribbon symbol is not regulated by any agency and does not necessarily mean it effectively combats the breast cancer epidemic.”

Here’s the bottom line:

The Star should take Osterheldt’s advice and disclose how much of its DealSaver sales will go to the cause.

And it sure wouldn’t hurt if the newspaper expanded its breast cancer message to let the vast majority of its DealSaver customers in on the fact that part of their purchases will support a good cause.

It’s not like it’s rocket science.

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4 Responses to Hearne: Columnist’s ‘Seeing Red Over Pink’ Points Finger at Star

  1. chuck says:

    Nice article from Jenee and Hearne.

    I didn’t think about it, that is for sure.

  2. Rick Nichols says:

    This, of course, is very similar to the whole “green” movement wherein customers are encouraged to buy this product or that product because it’s “environmentally friendly,” never mind the fact that the company offering the product wasn’t environmentally-minded when it first went into business and is thus a relative latecomer to the “party.” But as they say, anything to make a buck. Hey, I’m all in favor of saving the b(O)(O)b, but I’m of the feeling that corporations eager to partner with the Komen Foundation and other groups owe it to their patrons to be up front with them with respect to what percentage of a given transaction is actually going to the cause being promoted. A little transparency sure goes a long way with me. That said, I honestly can’t expect The Star to be overly generous in c(O)(O)perating with the Komen Foundation, Back in the Swing and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer to help find a cure since the parent company, McClatchy, is hardly in the pink financially judging from both its quarterly $tatement$ and the layoffs announced at 18th & Grand a month ago yesterday. Still, it’s nice to know that the paper is h(O)(O)ked on a g(O)(O)d cause even if its methods leave something to be desired.

  3. Reggin Tnuc says:

    Very creative Mr. Rick. I prefer mine like this (*) (*) and then there is always (!)

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