“Support the Cure — Start Shopping”

So says the banner on a snazzy new website for “Promise Me” Perfume, the latest offspring of a corporate sponsorship between Susan G. Komen, the breast cancer fundraiser, and TPR Holdings LLC, a New York-based “operator in the consumer products industry[…investing in] scalable mass and prestige opportunities in health, beauty and wellness categories…and providing transition services for large consumer products companies including Shiseido Cosmetics and Procter & Gamble. TPR principals have founded and developed such international brands as ZIRH Men’s Skincare, John Varvatos Fragrances and French Connection Beauty.”  And now, TPR has latched onto that most marketable of brands, breast cancer.

Sometimes, I swear, these posts practically write themselves.  If there is actually anyone left on the planet, or at least in the United States, who is not aware that breast cancer is no longer merely a pernicious and incurable disease, but has in fact become a ubiquitous brand and a profitable marketing opportunity for manufacturers, then let me enlighten you.

From the TPR Holdings website:

NEW YORK, October 26, 2010: TPR Holdings, a consumer products manufacturing and distribution company led by its President and beauty industry veteran Brian Robinson, has joined forces with Susan G. Komen for the Cure® to launch a union of beauty and charity.  Robinson, founder of Zirh Men’s Skincare and the driving force behind fragrance mainstays John Varvatos and French Connection, along with his TPR Holdings team, presents the first ever fragrance developed for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest breast cancer organization.  “Promise Me” is the first and only proprietary fragrance developed with Susan G. Komen for the Cure as a beautiful way to honor those who have been touched by breast cancer and encourage those who have not to support this vital cause.  TPR Holdings will donate 13.5% of all Promise Me sales to the Susan G. Komen organization.  TPR has made a commitment to guarantee a minimum donation of $1,000,000.  The name of the fragrance was taken from the recent book Promise Me written by Susan Komen for the Cure founder and CEO Nancy Brinker.

“With fifteen years in the beauty industry, I wanted to lend my expertise to a profound cause,” says Robinson.  “We worked closely with top perfumers to infuse the essence of the Susan G. Komen message into a fragrance that really gives back and brings hope to those suffering from breast cancer.”

Hmm.  A tall order, to “infuse the essence of the Susan G. Komen message into a fragrance.”  In the first place, I’m not quite sure what the SGK message really is.  According to Jean Claude Delville, the perfumer who developed the fragrance, “Promise Me is a sophisticated floriental fragrance that opens with a fresh burst of mandarin, bergamot and blood orange.  Its feminine heart evokes softness and beauty with pink peony, wild orchid and rosewood.  The scent lingers on white patchouli and musk for a warm, sensual finish.” Okay, so it’s sort of a fruit salad with a few flowers thrown in, perhaps served in a rosewood bowl. Delville further states that his intention was to “capture a long lasting emotion of positive energy, hope and love.  I wanted to create something empowering and something that would speak to all women.”

All right then.  But I’m a little confused here.  How is this supposed to bring “hope to those suffering from breast cancer?”  I know that ever since I stopped using regular antiperspirant, which is a no-no when you’re getting radiation, and started using a non-carcinogenic deodorant instead, I may not always smell as fresh as a daisy, so to speak.  So, if I spritz on a little “Promise Me,” will I smell better?  I wonder if the ingredients are organic or non-carcinogenic.  Doesn’t say on the website.  But, hey, I’m all for “something empowering.”  Wish I’d known years ago that I could just spray it on.  Would have saved me a lot of hard work.

No fools, TPR.  They don’t just do business with anybody.  You have to demonstrate your corporate worthiness first.  Their Investment Criteria is described as follows:

    Target Investments

  • Fragrance, Skin Care and Color Brands
  • Contract Manufacturers
  • Orphan Consumer Brands (Health, Beauty, Wellness)
  • Distressed Consumer Brands (Health, Beauty, Wellness)
  • Long Term Consumer Licenses
    Investment Criteria

  • We only take majority interests
  • Revenues of at least $2.5MM
  • OK with weak balance sheets and operational losses
  • Proven Sell Through
  • We specialize in Unique Situations such as partner disputes, hostile creditors and pending litigation
    Core Competencies

  • Public Relations
  • Packaging and Product Design
  • Financial Restructuring
  • International Distribution
  • Urgent Timelines

Well, it’s nice to know TPR believes in “urgent timelines.”  I’d say trying to decrease the death rate for breast cancer qualifies as urgent.  Of course, they don’t actually mention that untidy item in the florid prose above.  I suppose that wouldn’t be sensual or feminine  enough.  But, not to worry.  In the meantime, TPR gets to join the SGK Million Dollar Council Elite, that special group of corporate sponsors who have sold enough pink products to be able to contribute at least a million dollars in profits from the sales of those products to SGK.  They’ll get to rub elbows with such luminaries as Ford Motor Company, Bank of America, and Belk, a retailer of clothing and housewares, and makers of the pink-beribboned Belkie Bear.  And no one can deny that there’s a certain cachet in marketing a new product that belongs to the same club as the 2008 Ford Special Edition Warriors in Pink Mustang, a silver car with pink racing stripes and a nifty body ornament.  And don’t worry if you missed out on the special scarf designed for Ford by Lilly Pulitzer in 2003; you can still dress quite stylishly by shopping at the Ford Warriors In Pink online clothing store.

If you still haven’t quite figured out precisely what constitutes “the essence of the Susan G. Komen message,” never fear.  If you purchase the “Promise Me” Eau de Parfum or Eau de Parfum Gift Set, you’ll get a free copy of Nancy Brinker’s book, Promise Me, in which she tells the story of how her sister Susan’s death in 1980 from metastatic breast cancer prompted Brinker to spend the next thirty years turning her sister’s disease into a brand.

Kudos to KomenWatch.org, for their recent post, The Scent of Exploitation.

Please click on the post title or the comment link below to post a response.

This entry was written by Kathi, posted on Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 01:05 am, filed under Attitude, Fighting the Pink Peril and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

17 Responses to “Ko-Mart.Org”

  1. Great post Kathi. This whole perfume thing has my blood boiling. I’m going to try to get the ingredients list today. Love your closing line.


  2. I remember how sick the smell of perfume made me when I was in chemo…. oops… was I not supposed to mention that women going through breast cancer are actually sick and suffering? My bad. Sorry. Take two: Oh yes! The first thing I want to spray on raw, radiated skin is alcohol and chemicals to smell like a fruit salad so I can hurl and burn at the same time. I did it again didn’t I?
    “Promise me” you’ll take the money you would spend on this sh*t and send it to an organization that actually helps women with breast cancer.

  3. Oh, this is fabulous, Kathi. And of course, when do we get to find out when all that perfume brings “a cure?”

    Thanks so much for this,

  4. You know what “they” are all going to say… Lighten up. You (we) are taking it way too seriously, but I’m with you Kathi, as apparently anyone with any sense at all. Just when I think pink marketing can’t get any worse, it does. Thanks for this.

  5. Ko-Mart! Oh the cure-manity!!!

  6. We at the I Hate Breast Cancer Foundation are pleased to announce that we, too, have developed our own proprietary metastatic breast cancer scent. It’s called “Oh, Spare Me.” It combines a sincere prayer with outright sarcasm, a bold and sassy combination perfect for people constantly assaulted with fresh waves of idiocy.

    The overwhelming scent is of white funeral lillies with subtle notes of incense and wax candle drippings. The IHBCF will not actually be donating any money to any cause but if you spray enough on, we promise you’ll get a crushing headache–the true essence of breast cancer awareness.

  7. Kathi,

    Great posting, and your last sentence is oh-so-fantastic!! The perfume may be designed to smell like flowers and all that jazz, but it smells like crap to me. Needless to say, I won’t be purchasing it.

    Thanks for an enlightening posting, as always.

    — Beth

  8. Sadly I think the perfume is just the start….note here (http://tprholdings.com/holdings/)…TPR Holdings actually holds the brand called …wait for it…… “Susan G. Komen Beauty”……..my bet is there’s a whole swag bag of beauty products still to come……..as the KomenWatch piece suggests, Komen’s version of breast cancer has indeed become a lifestyle.

  9. “Turning her sister’s disease into a brand.” So prophetic and equally sad! Great post!

  10. Kathi, this would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad. Eau d’Disgusting is what I would call this new toiletry, which should be flushed down corporate toilets all over America. Many people are allergic to perfumes, and these days when we ban smoking in many public places, we are starting to consider perfumes as the next environmental hazard to bite the public dust. So how can Komen even pick perfume as a beauty product? And I bet their new line will include cosmetics with phthalates and parabens, just the kind of ingredients those of us with ER-positive breast cancer should avoid.
    Thanks for enlightening us, as usual.

  11. Oh, my stars! You’ve done it again. What a great sleuth you are. I agree with Jan and call the whole thing “Eau d’Disgusting.” Obviously no one at Komen considered the fact that most women going through chemo can’t tolerate fragrance of any kind, whether it’s in candles, body lotion or Kentucky Fried Chicken that comes in pink buckets! Ugh…


  12. Thanks, everyone! And Katherine, I have a large spritzer of “Oh, Gag Me!” right here on my desk. Eau de Toilet, of course.

    You know, if you read the TPR announcement closely, it says they developed the perfume with SGK as “a beautiful way to honor those who have been touched by breast cancer and encourage those who have not to support this vital cause.” They don’t say that it was developed for those of us who’ve actually had breast cancer. So, there you go — it’s not for us, it’s for everybody else. Whew!! Now, we just have to make sure no one wears it while they’re in our company…

  13. i want a beautiful way to honor those who have been touched by ass cancer and balls cancer. can i get TPR on board for that?

  14. pink stinks… tickled pink… horse pink… ha ha ha.
    Thank you, Kathi… inspiring words and humor are always appreciated!

  15. Komen can’t continue to turn a deaf ear, she’ll have to play with the rules of the reality, no longer with hers own ones… it’ll be possible thanks to y’all !

  16. Hi there Kathi. I just came across your blog as I was hopping around from Breast Cancer Action’s site. This is a great post. Nice touch of humor while making a bold and very real point.

    I’m journalist doing some research on Komen foundation and I’d be interested in chatting with you. Shoot me an e-mail sometime if you have a chance.


  17. […] Please Leave Me Alone Ko-Mart.Org Is There A Cure for Hypocrisy? The Scent of Exploitation Komen By The Numbers Komen Sells Out […]

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