Episode 15 – Breast cancer, cause related marketing and corporate social responsibility.

Postgraduate student Jay Burbank talks to Dr Clare Patton about her research into the ‘Cause-related Marketing’ of breast cancer and how multinational corporations can influence the behaviour of women with breast cancer through these campaigns.

Dr Clare Patton graduated with her PhD from QUB Law in December 2017. Her area of research is in Business and Human Rights with a special interest in a branch of Corporate Social Responsibility called ‘Cause-related Marketing’ (CRM) which is a partnership between a for-profit organisation and a non-profit organisation with the objective of raising awareness and funds for a particular cause (such as breast cancer). Her PhD research involved analysing the largest breast cancer CRM campaigns in the UK to explore the hypothesis that multinational corporations (MNCs) can influence the behaviour of women with breast cancer through these campaigns. Since completing this research Clare has widened her scholarship focus to include companies who produce breastmilk substitutes. She is currently working on research which juxtaposes the campaigns of two MNCs: the campaigns which promotes breastmilk formula to new mothers in jurisdictions in the global south and the CRM campaigns which promote the corporate charity work to stakeholders in the global north. Clare has developed Goffman’s Frame Analysis theory to help identify the behavioural patterns that can lead to CRM campaigns shaping the behaviour of individuals. In this episode she discusses the power that MNCs have to influence individual behaviour, from women with breast cancer to breast feeding mothers in the Philippines and how this area might be regulated.


Samantha King’s monograph Pink Ribbons, Inc.: Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy

Patton C. (2017) ‘Breast Cancer Cause-Marketing: Reworking the Social Contract’ 24(3) Commercial Law Practitioner 43–50

(Save the Children report on the promotion of breastmilk substitutes) Don’t Push It: Why the formula milk industry must clean up its act

The International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes

Global strategy for infant and young child feeding

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