The Globe and Mail: Pink makes women donate less to breast-cancer causes: study
When professor Stefano Puntoni set out to study the marketing power of pink, he and his fellow researchers expected to prove the rosy colour makes campaigns against women’s diseases, such as breast and ovarian cancer, more effective. After all, pink is often used to signify femininity, and what rallies unity and support more than reminding women of the plight of their fellow females?
Instead, the researchers were surprised to find the opposite: Women are put off by the colour pink.
In an interview with Harvard Business Review, Prof. Puntoni, of the Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University, reveals that women who were shown advertisements dominated with the colour pink and prompted with gender cues were less likely to believe they would get breast cancer, and far less likely to donate to cancer research.
Rather than eliciting support for the cause, all those pink ribbons that are passed around to promote breast-cancer awareness may actually be counterproductive, Prof. Puntoni says.
He suggests that pink and the associated gender cues elicit a defensive response from women, and set off denial mechanisms. In other words, when linked with something as scary as cancer, pink repels women precisely because it reminds them of being women and the risks they may face. ...