The new ‘it’ trend – silicone wristbands – started with Nike and the Lance Armstrong Foundation when they joined to create LIVESTRONG yellow silicone bracelets in 2004. Raising vital funds for cancer survivors, these five million silicone bands were an instant sell out.
Over the years, this awareness trend has been praised, commercialized, copied and enthusiastically emulated, and worldwide it is estimated that there are more than 80 million wristbands.
Changing the face of donating money to those in need, the original yellow bands crossed age barriers, income classes, cultures and geography, redefining how the population perceived $1 charitable donations. Widely available, these bracelets were easily purchased in stores, malls and online, making it even easier to gain mass momentum.
So, where did this bracelet-honoring trend come from? In the 1970s, many American activists wore Prisoner of War (POW) or Missing In Action (MIA) metal wristbands that were designed to speak out against those unlawfully imprisoned in Southeast Asian POW camps.
Now these wristbands, mass-produced with inexpensive silicone, are making a wave, impacting how companies, non-profit corporations, religious organizations, sports teams, anti-hunger campaigns, disaster relief efforts, racism awareness, disease prevention, animal welfare and anti-bullying campaigns raise population awareness.
Often used for high school fundraisers or church groups, these colorful fashion accessories are revered as the new advertising vehicle for companies. Teens can now declare friendships, promote school spirit or pledge a vow of celibacy all while donning a colorful silicone Reminderband®.
Silicone bands are often compared to wearing a peace sign or celebrating patriotism by donning American flag memorabilia. However, these fashionable pieces take statements one step further, allowing individuals to promote specific causes, such as breast cancer awareness, testicular cancer, diabetes, obesity, etc.
Not ones to become camera-shy, many celebrities and renowned political figures have even been seen in public wearing awareness cause related custom silicone wristbands. For example, Matt Lauer, Stephen Colbert, Al Gore and even Arianna Huffington and have been seen sporting these popular bands.
Becoming an integral part of U.S. culture, silicone promotional bands are here to stay, continuing to make their marks on today’s present and into tomorrow’s future.