Written by Michele Wheat
Current culture embraces telling the world what you think with bracelets or wristbands. A simple bracelet makes it easy to stand up for a cause or tell others what is important to you. These bracelets come in bright colors, and they are typically made out of silicone. The iconic yellow Livestrong bands started this strong trend in 2004. Since this time, consumers have embraced the ability to shout virtually any message to the world from a simple band worn around the wrist.
Wearing jewelry around the wrist is an ancient practice. The word "bracelet" may have derived from the Latin word "bracchium," which means "lower arm," or from the Greek word "brachile," which means "on the arm." The precise origination of bracelets is debatable, but some researchers have concluded that people in ancient Egypt and ancient Turkey wore bracelets. Some of the jewelry uncovered from these ancient times has been startling due to its detailed craftsmanship. Ancient people made bracelets out of wood, stones, and even bones. Some cultures believed that incorporating specific materials into bracelets, such as ribbons or specific stones, served important purposes. These bracelets might have pleased the gods or protected the wearer from evil spirits.
Fast-forwarding to the modern day finds a new twist to bracelets. Some pieces worn around the wrist in present times have a distinctive look and purpose. These colored wristbands have become a trendy way to promote a cause. They are made out of silicone, and people of all ages have begun wearing these wristbands to make a statement. Consumers can choose a bracelet or wristband to tell the world about a cause they support or care about, such as cancer or the homeless.
Some companies have jumped onto the wristband bandwagon by using the silicone bands as a marketing tool. By placing a company logo onto the band, it's possible to get a company brand out in front of consumers in a new and different way. Other companies have opted to build marketing campaigns that combine a company's name with a cause. This can be an effective way for a company to portray itself as having a charitable purpose and cause. This new way of building brand awareness can also build consumer loyalty, which often increases sales. Employees may also develop greater pride in a company, which tends to have positive results.
The Lance Armstrong Foundation was a nonprofit organization with the purpose of supporting people affected by cancer. This organization is now called the Livestrong Foundation. In May, 2004, the foundation released yellow silicone bracelets known as Livestrong wristbands. Partnering with Nike to produce the wristbands, the two companies succeeded in creating a wildly popular fashion item. After revelations about Lance Armstrong's use of drugs to enhance his sporting performance circulated, Armstrong cut all ties with what was then called the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The foundation's name change was a strategy to separate itself from Lance Armstrong after the negative publicity surfaced. Later, Nike severed ties with the foundation. Production of the Livestrong product line was eventually cut back as well.
The Armstrong scandal may have killed the yellow gear and the iconic bracelets, but using wristbands for a cause or to convey a message has not ended. Wristbands with other logos continue to adorn wrists. Companies have moved forward with supportive programs that benefit education and the homeless, for example. When consumers make a donation to a specific charity or organization, they may receive a wristband to show their support. People have also embraced the ability to share a word or a message on a bracelet. A simple word such as "courage" or "strength" is a common feature of some wristbands.