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Volume 24 No. 117
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Inside Look At The NFL's Month-Long Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign

October marks the fifth year the NFL has teamed with the American Cancer Society (ACS) and league corporate partners to "run A Crucial Catch, the league's month-long breast cancer awareness campaign," according to Ryan Basen of SPORTS ON EARTH. The campaign "raises awareness and funds for breast cancer causes supported by ACS and team charities." But A Crucial Catch is "not as altruistic as it is presented to be." Research suggests that the NFL and its corporate partners "are more concerned with enhancing their public images -- especially among women -- and ultimately revenues, than they are with addressing breast cancer." The NFL's partners in this campaign -- including Pepsi, Ticketmaster and Barclays -- also "want to enhance their images." A Crucial Catch is an "example of cause-related marketing -- using marketing strategies in a partnership to benefit both a social cause and an enterprise." The NFL and ACS are "heavyweights in their field, and a third group (the corporate partners) is involved." The NFL and its corporate partners also "generate revenues by selling and auctioning pink hats, shirts and other A Crucial Catch apparel." While all proceeds from auctioned, game-worn items "go to breast cancer causes, the league declines to say what portion of the apparel sales do." A Crucial Catch organizers "try to persuade consumers to adopt ACS' breast cancer awareness messages, and they project them via an NFL-sized marketing effort." Included are three ads posted on NFL.com/Pink, featuring Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald, Saints QB Drew Brees, Giants QB Eli Manning and Jets QB Mark Sanchez (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 10/3).