Breast Cancer Cause-Marketing: Reworking the Social Contract

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The role of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the Irish/Anglo-American corporate system is constantly evolving in concert with shifting trends and attitudes in society more widely. Where once upon a time a business relied upon simple philanthropy to generate good will with its closest stakeholders, globalisation has forced the hand of multinational corporations (MNCs) to become involved with campaigns which can be duplicated across geo-socio-political borders. MNCs must ensure that they do not introduce a campaign in one market that may cause offence in another. Globalisation drives homogenisation in relation to MNC CSR policies and cause-marketing campaigns, such as those associated with breast cancer, are perfect vehicles for MNCs to adopt; they are universally appealing and causes such as breast cancer transcend geopolitical boundaries.
This article puts forward the argument that there has been a corporate takeover of breast cancer by MNCs through hugely successful global CSR campaigns; these campaigns can be collectively known as the pink ribbon campaign. The pink ribbon campaign is a form of CSR known as cause-marketing and has been so phenomenally successful for the MNCs that breast cancer has become a brand and the pink ribbon a lucrative marketing insignia.
Seven issues with the pink ribbon campaign are identified within this paper and a framework for a voluntary cause-marketing charter is provided in reply.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCommercial Law Practitioner
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


  • Corporate Governance
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Social Contract
  • Multinational corporation
  • Commercial law


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