Fuzzy Math: When Is 200,000 Greater than 1.3 Million?


In October.

Advertising Age, the bible of advertisers and marketers in the US, has hundreds of articles about how linking a product to breast cancer awareness will boost sales.

Their editors and subscribers are experts at market share.  The market share of women who have experienced breast cancer is less than 12%.  The market share for women who have experienced domestic violence is 25%.  Double.

Yes, more women die each year from breast cancer:  the CDC predicts about 40,170 this year.  In 2005, 1,181 homocides of women were attributed to intimate partner violence.

But, the numbers in every other comparison have me scratching my head why advertisers and marketers write off domestic violence awareness.  This is especially puzzling since women between ages 20 to 24 ~ the ideal marketing demographic ~ are at greatest risk for experiencing intimate partner violence.  It makes me wonder what’s up with the fuzzy math?

192,370 women will likely be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.  The CDC estimates there are 2.5 million breast cancer survivors.

2 million injuries to women are attributable to intimate partner violence each year.

1.3 million women experience domestic violence each year.  248,300 women were sexually assaulted in 2007.

615,795 households were impacted by domestic violence in 2005.

51.9% of women and 66.4% of men have experienced child abuse.

54% of rape victims are younger than 18 years of age.  Women who were raped as children are twice as likely to experience rape as adults.

A smart marketer intent on growing market share would be painting the world in the color purple in October.

Sources:  Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Cancer Society, US Department of Justice, and the Family Violence Prevention Fund.

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