Circling in on Lance Armstrong trend
By Ashley Gray Dawson
Lots of causes have gained awareness through promoting trinkets. Many prominent health campaigns have ribbons: Red for AIDS, pink for breast cancer.
Add a yellow wristband to the list.
Cycling superstar Lance Armstrong, who is currently pursuing his sixth straight Tour de France win, has taken the color yellow as his symbol.
In the Tour de France, a yellow jersey marks the race leader.
In Armstrong's personal life, yellow means hope, courage, inspiration and perseverance. Armstrong is a cancer survivor, who started his five-win Tour de France record in 1999 after recovering from testicular cancer that had spread to his brain and lungs.
According to the wearyellow.com Web site, Armstrong says: "Yellow wakes me up in the morning. Yellow gets me on the bike every day. Yellow has taught me the true meaning of sacrifice. Yellow makes me suffer. Yellow is the reason I'm here."
As a tribute to Armstrong's fight and his attempt at a sixth Tour win, the Lance Armstrong Foundation and Nike launched the Wear Yellow Live Strong campaign. Nike will donate $1 million to the foundation and lead efforts to raise an additional $5 million through the sale of the yellow wristbands. They became available May 17 and will be sold until their gone, according to Britney Puryear, copywriter and project manager with the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
More than 2 million wristbands have been sold just through the laf.org Web site. As for the popularity of the wristbands, she said: "The response has been huge! We have seen a huge jump in sales during the Tour. Last week alone we sold more then half a million wristbands. People are wearing wristbands all over the world. Several celebrities are wearing them including Matt Damon, Ben Stiller, Andre Agassi, Serena Williams, Bruce Willis, Sheryl Crow, Jaime Fox, Shawn Colvin and Derek Jeter. Jay Leno is giving them to his audience members and Tom Hanks and Angelina Jolie were wearing one at a Cannes Film Festival party. I spotted Alexandra Kerry -- John Kerry's daughter -- wearing one this morning on "The Today Show." Lance and his entire team are wearing them, of course, as well."
Bracelets are available at retailers include Niketown, Nike outlets, Finish Lines, Foot Lockers, bike dealers, running stores, Hecht's and Lord and Taylor.
The Nike Factory Store near Rehoboth was temporarily out of the bracelets as of press time, with plans to stock more.
On my visit there last week, I saw people buying the bracelets who didn't even know what they were for. Two teenage girls, impressed by the other customers grabbing handfuls from boxes, picked up a couple and proceeded to the counter. "It's like a fund-raiser," one girl told her friend. That seemed to satisfy her, as she added a bracelet to her other purchases.
For $1, it's a hard bargain to beat.
The thin, flexible, yellow bands are one size fits all. They're plastic, with the words "Live Strong" imprinted in capital letters. That's Armstrong's Mantra, Puryear said.
Bracelet packaging explains the wristband and its cause, which may come in handy. People unfamiliar with the "Wear Yellow. Live Strong" campaign, may be confused by the slim yellow wristbands. People might think you've been hanging out an amusement park, riding a waterslide all day or partying it up at a club.