Company Offers Pink Breast-Cancer Awareness Blazers for Funeral Home Staff

Should funeral homes wear pink to raise breast cancer awareness? (Photo: Wearthepink.com)A company that provides clothes to funeral homes has come out with special pink blazers that they say are meant to honor families who have battled breast cancer. But while the light-pink clothing met with rave reviews among funeral directors, the general public seems to think that Wear the Pink might go beyond the pale.

"Personalization and Service are two key components in the ever-changing funeral and cemetery industry," FD Suits, says on its Wear the Pink website. "Wear the Pink is a unique way to provide an optional serve and product to families who have battled breast cancer."

The pink blazers were introduced at the National Funeral Director's Association International Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, in October. Wear the Pink's website prominently displays the pink-ribbon badge that many consumers associate with breast cancer research.

Critics are calling it yet another example of "pink washing" -- when companies take advantage of the color and cause to boost sales -- and point out that families whose loved ones have died of breast cancer are probably the last people who would want a reminder about the deadliness of the disease.

"Because breast cancer victims totally want to be remembered exclusively for the thing that killed them," one Buzzfeed reader quipped.

"Is this cause marketing at its worst? No, but it's still distasteful," another commented. "I think the Yoplait deal with the [yogurt] tops still beats it. You'd have to buy $30 of yogurt to get a buck donated to" breast cancer research.

Dave Kelley, owner of Georgia-based FD Suits, pointed out that "up to 12 percent" of the proceeds from each $195 blazer will go to the Funeral Service Foundation and the American Cancer Society. "In fact, we have already pledged $25,000 to FSF" he in a statement.

When asked why the pledge went to the Funeral Service Foundation instead of the American Cancer Society, Kelley said that the $25,000 donation "is a mirrored amount."

"That's just half," he told Yahoo! Shine on Tuesday. "The first push was to the funeral industry, because that's where we do the bulk of our business." He expects to be able to donate another $25,000 to the American Cancer Society sometime in 2013.

"We're tracking on that now," he said. "So I'm very very hopeful."

In regards to "pink washing," Kelley pointed out that the blazers are being sold to funeral homes, not the general public. "What we're trying to do really is offer this to a pretty staid industry," he said. "It's really just a service option that they can offer to families if the deceased has had breast cancer."

"I think it's just a good thing," he added. "We're thinking of doing other colors, for other causes."

Readers, what do you think? Smart marketing or pink washing?