Byline: Karyn Monget

NEW YORK — Empowered with the consumer recognition of products that literally are household names, major beauty companies — including Revlon, Estee Lauder and Avon — are dealing straight on with the issue of breast cancer awareness.
These Fortune 500 companies are using their tremendous marketing muscle to get the word out to their primary consumer — women: It’s a matter of life or death — do regular breast self-exams and share information about breast cancer and early detection with others.
Over the past several years, they are getting the message across in a variety of ways, including luncheons and fashions shows; personal appearances at major stores; product hangtags and laminated shower cards with information explaining how to do a breast self-exam, and pink ribbons, a symbol of breast cancer awareness. The ribbons generally are free to consumers at stores during October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Evelyn H. Lauder, senior corporate vice president of The Estee Lauder Cos. Inc., stated: “I believe breast cancer is an important issue because it strikes so many people, and women have historically been caregivers in their families.
“I saw how the AIDS activists were so relentless in getting money from the federal government for AIDS research.
“But nobody really was addressing women’s issues. Why money for men and not for women? The subject was always taboo. In 1991, I asked editors and friends to address the breast cancer issue,” said Lauder.
This month, Lauder will be visiting six Nordstrom units on the West and East Coasts, as well as a Rich’s store in Atlanta, to conduct wellness seminars. The Lauder company will distribute two million pink ribbons nationwide at cosmetics counters selling Estee Lauder, Clinique, Origins, Prescriptives and Aramis.
The firm also develops special Pink Ribbon products, to be sold during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, with net proceeds going directly to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, established by Evelyn Lauder in 1993. The Pink Ribbon products this year include a golden, heart-shaped compact with enameled pink ribbon design. Suggested retail is $29.50.
All Estee Lauder counters also will offer bookmarks, which list hot lines and Web sites for the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute, as well as tips on diet, exercise and the need for regular breast self-exams and mammograms.
Marking another result of this commit-ment, Evelyn Lauder and her husband, Leonard Lauder, chairman and chief executive officer of the Lauder company, hosted a cocktail party last week at the Whitney Museum for the fifth anniversary of The Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Cancer Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital. The hospital’s breast cancer center here is one of 11 hospitals nationwide that receives research grants from Evelyn Lauder’s Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
At Avon Products Inc., Joanne L. Mazurki, director of global corporate affairs, said, “This will be the fifth year that Avon will be involved in Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”
Mazurki, who heads Avon’s Breast Cancer Awareness Crusade, said Avon worldwide has raised $40 million over the past four years — $25 million of which was raised in the U.S. by Avon’s 450,000 U.S. sales representatives. This money comes from special items connected with breast cancer awareness, which are sold by the Avon reps.
This year’s fund-raising product is a ceramic mug with a pink ribbon motif. It retails for $4 and is merchandised in a gift carton with an educational flyer.
Avon’s crusade partners, the National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations and the YWCA of the USA, award grants to community-based, nonprofit organizations.
“All of the Avon reps talk about the importance of early breast cancer detection and link customers with programs that we support and fund,” explained Mazurki. “We’ve chosen to link people with services; then the message becomes very positive and empowering.”
Kathy Dwyer, president of Revlon Cosmetics USA, said, “We don’t just care about women’s looks, we care about their lives. Consumer research shows that breast cancer is a main concern of women in the 25-to-64 age range. Our average consumer is 38.
“Since 1990, Revlon has contributed more than $20 million, primarily for breast and ovarian cancer research,” continued Dwyer. “We just haven’t talked about it a lot. We were involved in this issue in the early Eighties — long before it was fashionable.”
Dwyer added, “I think an important point is it’s not about creating awareness with consumers, but what a company is doing to get a consumer involved to do something for themselves.”
This money comes from a variety of programs, including the Fire & Ice Ball, an annual gala sponsored by the firm since 1989, and the Revlon Run/Walk for Women in Los Angeles, which is staged each spring.
Isaac Mizrahi will co-chair this year’s Fire & Ice Ball on Dec. 3 at the Paramount Studios in Hollywood. In addition to creating the event’s theme and decor, Mizrahi will team up with Saks Fifth Avenue for a runway showing of his spring ’98 collection. This year’s honorary hosts will be Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise.
The Revlon Run/Walk for Women has raised $3 million since it’s inception in 1993. The proceeds — which go to the Revlon/UCLA Women’s Cancer Research Program — are garnered from entry fees and pledges. Last May, some 35,000 people participated in the run/walk, raising over $1 million.
The Revlon/UCLA Women’s Cancer Research Program was established in 1990 by Lilly Tartikoff and Ronald O. Perelman, Revlon’s ceo.
Another program that Revlon has been participating in since 1989 is its annual Mother’s Day mammogram program at Rite Aid drugstores each May. Fifty cents of each ColorStay lipstick by Revlon sold goes to the retailer’s public service program at 2,000 East Coast units. The program provides information and free mammograms to uninsured or underprivileged women.

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