Fact Check

Avon Breast Cancer Crusade

Will the Avon cosmetics company donate to breast cancer research every time you pull an animated rope?

Published Jul 19, 2002

Claim:   The Avon cosmetics company will donate 10¢ to breast cancer research every time you interact with an animated bear.

Status:   Was true, but the promotion is now over.


[Collected on the Internet, 2004]

Avon will give 10 cents toward breast cancer research every time someone "pulls on the rope" — please take a minute and do it!!!



[Collected on the Internet, 2002]

Subject: HUGS to You for Breast Cancer


Every time this is forwarded and opened to a new person Avon donates 10 cents to breast cancer! It is really cute!

This one is worth forwarding to all your friends.

Origins:   Every year since 1993, Avon Canada has raised money for breast

Give me a hug!

cancer research through its annual Avon Flame Crusade Against Breast Cancer. Contributions to this cause come primarily from the efforts of Avon Canada's sales dealers, who every year sell a different inexpensive Flame product (e.g., pens, mugs, keychains, candles) and donate the proceeds of those sales to a fund managed by the Avon Flame Foundation, the largest corporate contributor to Canadian Breast Cancer Research.

The Flame product for the 2001-2002 fundraising campaign was the Avon Flame Teddy Bear, sales of which raised $1.5 million for breast cancer research (the most Avon has ever collected in a single year). In conjunction with the campaign, Avon Canada created the "Give A Hug" animated 'bear hug' as a fundraising strategy. Web users who viewed a cute Flash animation of a stuffed bear offering a hug could click on a link displayed at the end of the animated sequence to "send a hug" to others, with the inducement that Avon Canada would donate 10¢ to breast cancer research for every hug sent. The "Give a Hug" campaign has ended, however, and the link to the animated bear no longer appears on Avon's web site:

Thanks for E-mailing us here at Avon. We enjoy hearing from you, as it helps us to fill www.avon.com with information relevant to your needs.

The Give A Hug animated 'bear hug' was a fundraising strategy created by the Avon Flame Crusade Against Breast Cancer to support the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Initiative. Unfortunately, the Give a Hug program has ended and the link was deactivated.

For information about the Avon Flame Foundation or the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation visit www.Avon.ca.

If you would like information about the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade in the U.S. visit www.avoncrusade.com.

We hope this information is helpful. Please keep an eye on Avon as we add more and more to our web-site.

Avon Information Center

But the hug lived on, because someone put Avon's "Give A Hug" Flash animation up on a web site unrelated to Avon. Viewing this link didn't result in any contributions to breast cancer research, but many Internet users who were directed to (or stumbled across) this site mistakenly believed it did, thus the e-mailed exhortation to others to visit the link.

The maintainer of that site later replaced Avon's bear animation with an explanation of what it had been doing there in the first place:

So very sorry about the teddy bear hug flash movie. I found this cute flash movie one day and thought I'd keep it on my site (previous experiences with keeping links of flash movies often resulted in the link subsequently becoming no longer valid) to show my family and friends. However, I have recently been contacted by the legal department of the large corporation that produced the movie demanding the removal of the file due to copyright and trademark infringements.

Those interested may wish to view that company's effort against breast cancer.

My sincere apologies if I have generated any grief for anyone involved. Until next time.


In 2004, Avon came up with another 'clickable for 10¢ to be donated to the fight against breast cancer' animation of cute stuffed bears. Visitors to the 'Let's pull together to beat breast cancer' link were entreated to 'grab the rope' (by clicking on it with their mouse). Said action caused three bears to win a tug-of-war with an unseen opponent. Clickers were then beseeched to "send an e-bear," an act that prompted Avon to donate 10¢ to breast cancer research. However, there was only so much e-bearing to be done because Avon had capped its 2004 beneficence at $10,000, which meant once 100,000 e-bears were sent, the promotion was over. Which (in late November 2004) became the case: according to the notice posted on Avon's site (which visitors will see only if they click on the "send an e-Bear" entreaty that follows the animation of the bears and their tug-of war):

Thank you for pulling together!

Your support of the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade e-bear helped us reach our goal for 2004. The e-bear raised $10,000 for breast cancer. You can continue to help the cause by purchasing Avon Breast Cancer Crusade items from your Avon Independent Sales Representative or at avon.ca (Canada only).

The full "Grab the Rope" animation is still viewable on Avon's site.

Last updated:   11 February 2005

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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