Rethink Breast Cancer’s new collection comes with a brand refresh

The non-profit is giving Canadians practical and impactful reasons to donate this year.


Rethink Breast Cancer is giving Canadians more reasons to shop its “#RethinkPink” collection, as the charity refurbishes its website and continues to see benefits from Instagram.

The #RethinkPink Partnership Collection is designed and curated with over 20 local and global brands, from housewares and home décor retailer Kitchen Stuff Plus to H&M to professional wear brand Smythe, most of which have developed special products or donation occasions. H&M, for example, will be donating 10% of all bra sales to Rethink Breast Cancer, creating a special bra collection in addition to inviting customers to make cash donations at the register that will be matched by H&M up to $10,000. Smythe is selling its pink blazer, with $50 from each one sold being given to the charity. and new purpose-driven brands have also come on board, largely in the beauty and fashion space, which resonates best with its stakeholders.

The national charity, which is dedicated to supporting young women through all elements of breast cancer treatments, like other nonprofits, has experienced a dramatic shortfall in funding thanks to the pandemic. In order to have the program resonate, MJ DeCoteau, executive director and founder of Rethink Breast Cancer, tells strategy that when it comes to breast cancer, it is important to ensure that efforts are closely aligned to brand mission and products it is selling also need to “have use.”

“Personally, I’ve always had mixed feelings about Breast Cancer Awareness Month and am very aware of ‘pink-washing’,” DeCoteau says. She tells strategy that in the early days of the organization, she saw a lot of plastic pink ribbon collateral adding to landfill, thrown on products, with no mention of connection to brand purpose or fundraising efforts and percentage of sales that go to charity.

“Women don’t need awareness, they need action,” she says. This is a perspective that Rethink Breast Cancer also took with “Give-A-Care,” a product line that allowed friends and families to ditch flowers and get well cards, instead giving those undergoing treatment things they actually need, like balms and water bottles to help them deal with the side effects of chemo.


The organization has also recently refreshed its brand and website, in an effort to better connect with the women in the community and boldly put them front and centre in its efforts.

Rethink Breast Cancer has a “soft” fundraising campaign out now, rather than a broader bigger effort, DeCoteau says, because with its constituency being so young, it’s also the segment most affected by pandemic-related economic downturns. Released to coincide with National Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day on Oct. 13, the new creative is derived from its web refresh and living primarily on Instagram, which has been a huge way to engage with stakeholders, DeCoteau says.

“We actually got a cold call from [partner Immediate Group] saying ‘hey, do you have a project, we love your website and these photos…can we help turn this into a video’” DeCoteau. The photos and energy feels like a movement, she says.

In 2015, the organization began ramping up its offerings to become more digital first, which has given it its advantage, she says, in terms of attracting younger donors.

Earlier this year, it engaged with gamers through its Booby Bowl, a livestream fundraiser with prominent gamers, and it’s done work exploring its own Twitch channel to further amplify microdonations, which is not too taxing on individuals, but which collectively adds to impact.

Pomp & Circumstance handled the PR.