Fast Company

The Live Strong Phenom

By now you've probably seen more than your fair share of yellow rubbery Live Strong bracelets adorning the wrists of everyone from neighbors to presidential candidates. As you probably know, they're $1 totems being sold in a joint partnership between Nike and the Lance Armstrong Foundation to fund cancer research. But, did you know that 8 million of these have already been sold and there are a million more on backorder? On top of that, the Wall Street Journal reports that the charity-item-turned-must-have-accessory is being sold on eBay for up to 10-times its face value (and you can bet that money ain't going to charity).

Two questions: 1. Live Strong bracelets have obviously gone over the tipping point. But how? Why? Is this a feat that can be repeated by other companies working in partnership with worthwhile charitable foundations? 2. What the hell is wrong with the people who sell them for profit on eBay?

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22 Comments

  • baby blue

    i think its a very good cause n ppl who ve a problem with it just ve a problem with themselves...every coin has 2 sides to it...it mite be used as a trend or the fakes might be sellin but tht don mean,it aint helpin at all!!!

  • Ashley

    Yeah I have a yellow livestrong bracelet but all of my friends say that it is a fake. they say that the real ones say made in china on the back. Are they right? e-mail me at abliss@stny.rr.com.
    - Ashley
    ps. I paied $2.00 for it.
    pps. and no i am not the same Ashley From the top on the page. :)

  • Amy

    Hey everyone. I came along this site looking to where you can buy them besides online. I'm a freshman in highschool and my highschool is fairly big but probably not as big as others. I first saw these livestrong bracelets a while ago at a Notre Dame game. (Football) and for about 3 months I wondered where I could find them. I finally got one about a month ago and after that I noticed a few people already had them at my school. I think it's a good thing that people look at them as a trend.. I mean if people are going to be shallow enough to not care what it means and just want it because other people like them or to "fit in" at least theyre donating. But, people like me.. I do care. My Grandma and Aunt both were taken away by cancer. I never had a chance to meet or get to know my grandma and barely my aunt. It is a way to help me remember to do good and stay on the right track.. that my grandma is looking down on me and if she did know me at least i know i would be making her proud. I think these bands are a great thing and God Bless anyone fighting cancer. My prayers are to you and I look up to you for what you are going through. Just remember.. LIVE your life STRONG. and make what you can out of it. thanks for reading my comment. -Amy

  • Matt Beekman

    Do you want a Livestrong wristband?
    I am trying to help the Lance Armstrong Foundation by selling Youth/Woman bands for $1.50 and donating proceeds back to the foundation (I am willing to provide proof of this to any buyer). I will pay for shipping if you order 15 or more.

    Let me know if you are interested!

  • Nicole Ericksen

    So the first few times I saw these bracelets was at the PX on Fort Carson.Well since they are yellow i thought that they were a support the troops thing. Then i come online and find out that they are a cancer bracelet...Now it makes me want to buy one even more to support all cancer research and victims. I was also wondering if any company is willing to possibly make one to support our troops still in iraq? My husband will be going back soon and I would love to have something of the sort to wear. The pow/mia/oif bracelets are made of metal and scratch my son all the time!

  • Tevy Lema

    Was your mouse button stuck? Anyway, I really want to get one!!!!! I do agree with Lindabeth, though.

  • Cameron Betty

    i tink livestrong bracelets are not overrated. if you had cancer,fiught through it and won the tour 6 times you should sell these. even if people do wear these as a fashion model they have to buy them and there money is going to charity and remember bush sucks go kerry

  • ASHLEY

    WHERE DO THEY SELL THE LIVESTRONG BRACELETS AT BESIDES THE INTERNET? IF YOU CAN TELL ME PLESE MAIL ME AT RISNERICEICE@AOL.COM

  • Autumn

    I got my first (i'm on my second; the first broke) before school started. I am a junior at a very small school in Michigan. My Mom ordered them during the Tour de France. I was the first in my school to have one. Now, EVERYONE (teachers&students) have them. It's gotten to the point where I am debating on taking mine off. I feel bad for thinking this because it supports a great cause but i'm so sick of hearing everyone say they were the first to get them!! A kid is even selling them for sometimes $5-$10!! The money from his earning is actually going for his weed and cigerrettes. It sucks that no one remembers what they truly meant in the first place.

  • Reid Branston

    You have all came up with excellent comments and issues,I personally have also notice this "Live Strong" trend going on in my school. 3/4 of the school have one, In fact they were recently selling them for 2$ each, when the originaly price is 1$ on www.wearyellow.com the extra dollar is profit. Also on Ebay some of them are selling up to 10$ even 20$. But none the less, if you look at it in my perspective, the person who is selling the bands, also had to buy one. Yet goverment officals disagree saying "Selling charity Live Strong bands; is against the law." There have also been numerous reports of, pausing producing due to over responce. But if you look over all the crap about selling over the price, or "trends" or whatever the topic is, the way i look at is.. Why "Live Strong" when you can "Live Sexy" Thank you.

  • Taryn

    I am a student at the University of Arizona, and my first week here, I was overwhelmed by the explosion of the yellow "LiveStrong" bracelet trend. Sorority girls, frat boys, teachers, politicians, indie rockers, EVERYONE had them. I have to admit, after finding out what they were (In my hometown they were non-existant, as I lived in a town with no sporting, Nike stores, etc) I was sporting my own, in support of my fathers struggle with colon cancer. My point here is, a lot of trends come and go. Band-Aid sized skirts, polos with the collar flipped up, anything that says "Abercrombie"... and the word "trend" typically carries a negative connotation. If you fall victim to the "trends" you are a follower. However, even the person who is wearing a bracelet because it is "cute" and they are "popular" is advertising the foundation to people like myself who may not have know what it was. They look it up, they buy one, and they've helped. How often do trends have positive messages behind them? Never. But they do now. This is a big step forward for people everywhere. In the end, the hype and the sales on ebay may be a little ridiculous, but it is getting people like us to talk about the Foundation, generatinging interest, and spawning more sales. Guys, there is really nothing negative going on here.

  • dave cameron

    My wife if dying of an inoperable brain tumor, and we were told this past Monday that she has less than five weeks to live.
    I view the bands as a way to tie together those whose are being emotionally impacted by a struggle or a loss.
    If folks wish the use them as fashion apparel, that is OK as long as the meaning behind them is not lost. It is not about looking sharp on a wrist, it is about knowing or experencing someones struggle with life, and death.
    Personally I ordered a large number from the site, but I am told it will take sometime to get them, in part due to the spectulation market going on.
    I bear those who sell them for a profit no ill will, I do however wish their desire to make a quick profit would not effect those who might have a more focused desire to have these braclets from getting them.
    I don't know what else to say, I love these blogs, this is the first I can recall to strike so personally close to home for me though.

  • Lindabeth Schmucker

    The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (www.pcrm.org) lists The Lance Armstrong Foundation as a health charity that still funds animal experiments. Most people believe that experiments on animals are necessary for medicine and science to progress. This is not the case. The experiments are horrendously cruel and the results may be redundant, irrelevant, misleading and/or even harmful to humans. Avid cyclist or not, find out what you are really supporting. There are many health charities that do not fund vivisection.

  • Bob Cargill

    How -- and why -- have Lance Armstrong's Live Strong bracelets gone over the tipping point? Excellent question(s)! In a 7/27/04 post to my blog, A Fine Kettle of Fish, I wrote about him both as a superstar athlete and as a powerful role model, someone who is capable of turning an impossible dream into a reality.

    I wrote: "Lance Armstrong's resounding, record-setting sixth Tour de France victory a few days ago was yet another demonstration of this man's fortitude and resolve. I mean, think about it. His exploits in the saddle are near miraculous, given the fact that just eight years ago, he was far from riding high, confronted by a formidable foe not even he could be expected to be ready for: cancer. But to say Lance has survived the disease would be an understatement. He has thrived since his diagnosis, both on and off his bike, establishing himself as one of the top cyclists in the world -- ever -- and speaking up on behalf of cancer prevention and survivorship as founder of the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF).

    Of course, if anyone has an inspirational message to deliver, it's Lance, which is just what he did last week in France as a Tour winner yet again, but also in an impeccably timed -- and wonderfully crafted -- direct mail fundraising appeal I received from his eponymously named foundation. Talk about striking while the iron's hot! Just several days before he was crowned victor once more on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees, he was inviting LAF donors and prospects like me to help spread the LIVE STRONG message of hope in the fight against cancer!

    In a surprisingly succinct, albeit convincing, message, the 32-year-old champion wrote, "To raise funds for the LAF's work, and to carry our message of hope further, we've launched an exciting campaign to distribute yellow wristbands bearing our motto, LIVE STRONG. I'll be wearing mine as I ride this summer, and I hope you'll see thousands of spectators along the way wearing them too. Ultimately, we want five million people worldwide to wear LIVE STRONG yellow wristbands."

    That's a lot of wristbands, sure, but you won't find me betting against Lance. No way. After all, if anyone can turn an impossible dream into a reality, it's him."

  • David Paull

    I think there were a number of factors that helped this tip so quickly. One was timing - they began this initiative during Armstrong's run toward a sixth Tour win. He was in the news every day and more and more people were learning of, and buying the bracelets every day. When he crossed the finish line and raised his arms in the air, there was the bracelet beaming on his wrist. Another is the celebrity factor. I catch daily glimpses of public figures sporting the yellow bracelets. Heck, even John Kerry is wearing one (I first noticed it the night of his DNC acceptance speech).

    Regarding those who are selling them for profit online - Rahul does make the interesting point in his comment above that these bracelets have shifted into the fashion realm. I saw someone today wearing at least a dozen up their arm. At least for someone to be able to sell it for more than $1, they would have first had to buy it for $1.