Hope is such a prominent idea in our society. I think it is because it is a term that can be used in so many different contexts. From hoping that you aced that Bio exam that you pulled an all-nighter studying for, or hoping that one day you’ll have a family that you support with a stable job, hope is everywhere! So let’s take a moment to define hope. Dictionary.com defines hope, in the noun form, as “the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best”. So, in this way, it makes sense that hope can be used in many different contexts.
One huge example in society today where hope is used is disease and illness; or rather the curing of said ailment. And one of the most prominent diseases around, or at least advertised in the media, is cancer. Predominantly breast cancer, the media markets to our hopes that one day this horrible disease will be wiped out by selling us cute pink things that will supposedly “cure” cancer. From pink office supplies to gaudy pink rain boots sold by the NFL, everyone is getting in on the action to support breast cancer research. But what sort of impact is this really having on the funds to fight against cancer?
I recently read an article titled “The Silliest Pink Crap Money Can Buy, None of Which Will Cure Breast Cancer” (you can read it here for yourself). The article reminds its readers that, although these products that are marketed as donating to breast cancer research do in fact give money, it is a very insignificant amount. So although you may feel like you have good intentions by buying these products to help a good cause, it would in fact be more beneficial had you simply donated money directly. These marketers know that they are making themselves look good by donating proceeds, and by doing so they are raking in the profits.
But is this really all that bad? Although only small portions of the profits are donated to breast cancer research (usually somewhere around 10-20% at the most), they are still getting the word out. Even if you are not purchasing these products, seeing them on the shelves and on the web gets the idea of donating money into your head. So to say that these tactics themselves are totally bad would be a shame; we as consumers just need to realize which is actually the more philanthropic route and which is mainly routed in consumerism.
I think it’s interesting that Jesus adopted the exact opposite idea. There are many instances in the gospels where, once Jesus has cured someone of some sort of ailment, he immediately turns to his disciples and tells them to keep this hush hush. Jesus didn’t need any support for his cures, except for that of his heavenly Father. I’m not sure how advertisers can apply this particular idea to their marketing strategies; I just think that it is interesting how Jesus goes about “marketing” himself. Obviously it is working very well for him, because we are wonderfully “surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1), we are able to fully pursue Christ right where we are, without buying a thing.