Thursday, February 2, 2012


I have been really dreading writing about the Komen controversy, and I kind of want to hit the delete button.

Also I tend to be kind of a fence sitter on these things, as a professional journalist my instinct is to try to be neutral.

So for a moment I am going to put aside the right/wrong part of the issue, and look at it from a different point of view.

For quite a while Komen has been making tone deaf PR moves.

The fried chicken is a classic example. The organization, to me, does not seem to understand that it's future is based on public perception.

I think I understand their rationale for pulling the Planned Parenthood funding. 700 thousand dollars is a small fraction of their funding, and I believe they only utilized PP in smaller cities.

I can imagine them saying, the distraction of Planned Parenthood is not worth it, and it's distorting our central message.

There was an organization that pulled their pink "for the cure" bible (I think it was a bible) because of the association.

I can imagine the conversation that said, we need to be apolitical and keep the focus on curing breast cancer.

But what they have not done is communicate any sort of a plan to send those women somewhere else. Maybe there is a plan, if so, they need to communicate it.

They don't seem to have any idea how to manage a crisis, and they seem to have lost their voice.

I still believe Komen does a lot of good, really I do. I love a lot of women who are involved with the organization. I have really enjoyed participating in their events.

But this one decision has exploded in a way the fried chicken or perfume dustups have not.

Women who really gave their all for Komen are turning away.

To be honest, I have always suggested that people donate to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which is sort of the un-Komen. But I still respect that Komen has been very good at creating community connections. It is sort of a VFW for women who have been in the cancer war. They are places no other organization is.

I feel like a friend who wants to do an intervention.

Komen please do what it takes to get back in touch with the rank and file.


  1. Thank you for presenting a balanced look at the Komen/PP issue. Your mark as a journalist shows. And, as you convey, there are two sides (at least) to every story.

  2. I have to agree with you on that one. I was a journalism major and have been in public relations and marketing for more than 20 years. They really are making some big PR goof-ups. It makes them look unstable and unprofessional.

    If you want to protect your brand, as they say they're doing by suing little organizations that use, "For the Cure," they need to watch who they affiliate.

    The fried chicken thing is one example. The Promise Me perfume debacle is another (toxic chemicals anyone?) They even had something on their website how BPA is safe (I guess to justify all the bottles they give out.)And I learned that Smith and Wesson has a nice pink pistol and are contributing funds to Komen. OK, they're not a true marketing partner, but what does that say about their brand?

    It seems they have gotten too big for their britches and lost their way. Let's focus on "For the Cure," and not align with products that can cause cancer.