Integrity Always Matters…

Looks like more pink shenanigans was going on while I was away recently…

I’m chiming in because first of all I live in Wisconsin and Kohl’s is a Wisconsin based company, so maybe this is partly why the recent #talkpink Kohl’s/Komen partnership made me feel more offended or extra opinionated. But that’s not the real reason I (along with many others) was riled up.

What was/is the problem with this particular #talkpink ad campaign?


Well, first and foremost they got the wrong elephant.

Breast cancer is not the elephant in the room.

Metastatic breast cancer is the “elephant” in the pink room. Big difference. Kohl’s and Komen totally missed the mark. And I (and many others) will not and did not sit by and stay quiet about it. 

On top of missing the mark and getting the wrong elephant, Kohl’s and Komen stole METAvivor’s elephant concept in the first place. Here’s METAvivor’s original elephant image/message concept:


Next, you will notice in the first image above (the Kohl’s one) that the message in the ad campaign says this:

“Let’s not ignore it” (breast cancer).

This is yet another theft.

Why is it?

Because as you see in the image directly above, METAvivor’s campaign/message clearly states:  “Don’t ignore stage IV.”

The Kohl’s/Komen ad “borrowed” the “let’s not ignore” part, but ironically, actually did ignore stage IV.

In addition to the two above mentioned blunders, the Kohl’s/Komen ad campaign goes on to say:

“Together we can start the conversation about breast cancer.”

Seriously? Kohl’s and Komen are starting the conversation about breast cancer…

People have certainly been talking about and shopping in the name of breast cancer for ages. (And this leads me to ask once again, why is breast cancer the shopping disease anyway?)

So, there you have my two cents on this one.

Why does any of this matter?

Integrity. That’s why.

Kohl’s, where is yours?

IMPORTANT NOTE:  I’ve just learned that Kohl’s has called METAvivor and wishes to start a conversation. Hurray! People are listening! I hope. Once again, social media makes a difference! I am hopeful, yet skeptical. Perhaps Kohl’s is a company of integrity after all. Time will tell. Stay tuned…

How do you feel about this recent Kohl’s/Komen #talkpink campaign partnership? 

Do you feel confident Kohl’s genuinely wishes to open a meaningful conversation with METAvivor?

Do you shop, or will you keep on shopping, at Kohl’s?





34 thoughts to “Integrity Always Matters…”

  1. Nancy,
    Thank you for your well written blog that clearly highlights how the Kohl’s Komen Campaign, completely reversed METAvivor’s image and message. Living in Wisconsin as you do, we appreciate that for you this was a double blow. Today we did indeed hear from Kohl’s and are entering a dialogue to see how the issue can be resolved satisfactorily. We would love to wake up corporate America to the realities of our disease and very much hope this is the first step.

    1. Cj, I am really glad that Kohl’s responded to you and is interested in entering a dialogue. I certainly hope they can rectify the situation, though in some ways the damage has already been done as this particular campaign ends soon. Still, perhaps it will make a difference down the road and as you said, waking up corporate America to the realities of breast cancer, especially mbc, is the goal. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  2. Nancy, I am so pleased to hear from CJ that there is an opening of a dialogue. So glad you wrote about this and I am looking forward to something positive coming out as a result of this stolen campaign.

  3. Thanks for a great piece and for drawing attention to this critical issue, Nancy! While I am optimistic this can be resolved, it needs to be addressed quickly and fairly. I’m keeping my fingers crossed though I’m not yet convinced. I am, however, convinced that the power of social media is stronger than ever!

    1. Lori, I agree with you. My fingers are crossed too. One thing is becoming more and more apparent and this is that the power of social media is indeed quite strong and will only become stronger. Thank you for doing all you did to call out this particular ad campaign. It was horribly done. Thanks for reading and commenting. It’s great to hear from you.

  4. Great expose, Nancy! I’m disgusted that Kohls is so insensitive to the needs of us METAvivors. I would only shop at Kohls if it were with a friend for a social outing, because as a Stage IV patient, I feel my social life is crucial. I get a big “up” by being out with friends. But the whole pink elephant? What a public relations disaster (at least I hope so). We need to get the word out about this travesty. Carry on! xox

    1. Jan, Yes, the whole pink elephant thing was terribly flawed. I hope it has been a public relations disaster, but who knows? How Kohl’s judges ad campaign success is undoubtedly all about the dollars. I wonder if they received much criticism. I am pretty curious to follow this story. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. I hope you have many outings planned with your dear friends. Too bad we don’t live closer…

  5. The “let’s not ignore it” feels very much related – particularly since breast cancer gets loads of attention, except for the stage that actually kills. So, if we’re really not going to ignore something then we should be talking stage4, cause that’s the really, really big elephant. It’s the elephant to end all elephants.

    I’m glad they’re finally in conversation. That should have been the first move.

    1. Catherine, “The elephant to end all elephants” – no kidding! Well said. Hoping the conversation is a wake up call… Thank you for chiming in on this.

  6. I can’t believe that they just stole that elephant symbol from METAvivor’s – that’s truly awful. Glad to hear they came back to work something out. I’ve always liked Kohl’s so would hate to feel I had to boycott them. Thanks for pointing it out and I’m hoping that they will address and fix the concern.

    1. Claudia, It is awful. It’s funny, even though Kohl’s is a WI based company, I have only shopped there twice. This campaign won’t be getting me into their stores any time soon that’s for sure. I’m hoping they issue an apology. One is sorely needed. Thanks for commenting.

  7. I don’t shop at Kohl’s since they aren’t in Canada, but if they were, I’d boycott over that ad. You’d think with all Komen’s pink money stolen from people who think buying pink does anything solid for BC that they could afford their own ideas? I guess this was just easier… Sad.

    1. Julie, Well, as I mentioned, this ad campaign won’t be getting me into their stores any time soon. When a large company obviously has an advertising budget, it’s hard to fathom why they would “borrow” an idea from someone else – a non-profit organization no less, who’s focus is on metastatic breast cancer. I’ve just learned they don’t plan to retract, remove or apologize. Looks like my skepticism was warranted. Surprise surprise. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  8. It would be great if just one corporation could wake up to the stale, outdated, trivializing nonsense that is pink cause-related merchandising. Maybe it will be Kohl’s. We’ll see.

    1. Kathi, That would be great wouldn’t it? Doesn’t sound like it’s happening though… Why am I not surprised? Thanks for chiming in and for your post on this matter.

  9. Geez, I am a Kohls shopper, but no longer. I actively fought BC for 10 years, moving from one treatment to the next, culminating in a double mastectomy. I never once thought IT WAS NOT BEING TALKED ABOUT. Actually, it would really anger me to see all the pink crap for sale, making it just another marketing ploy. I have parted ways with Komen, and now will do the same with Kohls. And I will continue to add my voice to the important education that Stage 4 kills and desperately needs more funding.

    1. Lisa, I am thrilled to hear about your decision to boycott Kohl’s. Thank you for adding your voice AND your actions to raising awareness about all stages of breast cancer. We need everyone’s help. Thanks for commenting.

    1. Carolyn, That’s a good word choice for the whole debacle. Lots of us have been feeling disgusted by this Kohl’s/Komen ad campaign. Nice to hear from you though!

  10. Everyone is so surprised and outraged I need to ask Why? When people continually do business with someone who’s reputation is already tarnished with being disreputable dishonest and any other dis… in the English language No doubt someone will come up hurt KOMEN’S is like that quiet thief in the night. It will be oh so accomodating during the day but will think nothing of leaving a knife in your back as it once again proves who they are…. STOP Whinning about it it was inevitable DO something Boycotting a store is a dent begin a writing campaign Saturate the President’s office with email letters chopped up Credit Cards… Cut out the elephant logos send them back We all typically complain but let it pass because someone else will do it… Meanwhile KOMENS sits on the money tree again. Why not contact the actress , surely even she can’t be that ditzy if made to understand…..
    Love Alli…..XX

    1. Alli, Thanks for the suggestions. I like the way you don’t beat around the bush about what can be done. And you’re right, not so surprising when you consider who the other half of the duo is.

  11. It seems to me that Komen bears a lot of blame here too. Shouldn’t they (of all entities) be the most plugged in and aware of the needs of the breast cancer community? I find it the MOST shameful that they continue to pink-wash breast cancer and take money from corporations in the name of “raising awareness.” Ridiculous. Breast cancer (in general) is past the stage of needing awareness. That is a waste of money and just makes those without cancer feel good. When you have the ability to harness resources the way Komen does, it’s far more infuriating to see those efforts continually ingore the women most in need. Komen is culpable in this partnership- as the breast cancer “voice” they should take responsibility for the content and direction of the campaign…Kohl’s undoubtedly sought their input. I am tired of these large charities that are more concerned with their own sustainability and brand than actually doing something that is desperately needed. Metastatic breast cancer is rarely discussed, because no one wants to talk about patients that aren’t winning the fight. But there are women that are losing the battle every day. I guess that’s not a message that spurs commerce…and it doesn’t fit the happy inspirational message of beating the disease that so many charities want to convey. Having lost family member (s) to metastatic disease, and being a survivor myself…I honor all of you that continue to fight. You are the bravest human beings I know and no ribbon can represent the challenges you face. My love to you all. You deserve more than this.

    1. Angela, I agree that Komen shares the blame here. Komen has lots of experience in this realm and ironically, Komen has a history of suing others who infringe on supposed copyrighted ideas and phrases of theirs. I also agree that metastatic breast cancer is too often over-looked in the conversations. I think we all deserve better. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts on this.

  12. Well-done, Nancy! This disgusting stealing and misinterpretation of Metavivor’s elephant-in-the-pink room is unforgivable in my opinion. I was a loyal Kohl’s customer, the operative word being “was.” I’m also writing a post on this subject (a bit late, but better late than never, eh?)

    1. Beth, I’ve never been much of a Kohl’s shopper and I guess this won’t be changing. Good for you for saying you aren’t going to shop there any more. That’s the kind of action it’s going to take to get the attention of corporate America I guess. I look forward to your post. Unfortunately, this topic isn’t going away any time soon. Thank you for reading and chiming in.

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