Years ago a popular style of wristband was a sweatband, and were popular with tennis players, but mainly their purpose was to catch the athlete’s sweat that ran down their arms which might get in the way of the hand’s grip on the tennis racket. But today, there are silicone rubber wristbands are thinner and more colorful. And they are not exclusive to tennis players either. In fact, these wristbands have evolved so much that they now come as rubber wristbands. Some of them come with art designs, engraved names and messages, and they can be embossed or debossed. These erstwhile sweatbands have also attained the status of being fashion accessories.
They have come as harbingers of messages that proclaim encouragement, support, sentiment, challenge, disgust or anger. These wristbands have become a vehicle for public relations, advertising, marketing, news, social commentary and personal networking. Causes and advocacies have benefited from silicone rubber wristbands, for instance, which became the tool for raising awareness of cancer when cyclist Lance Armstrong set up his “Livestrong” campaign in 2004.
The Evolution of Armstrong’s Silicone Rubber Wristbands
A survivor of testicular cancer, Armstrong’s rubber wristbands were in yellow, the color of the jersey worn by the champion of the Tour de France cycling event, which Armstrong had won seven consecutive times (1999-2005). Various kinds of wristbands have since emerged, espousing recognition, confirmation or backing of ideas, political candidates and patronage of sports teams, celebrities and other ideals.
Wristbands are now a popular item as corporate giveaways, loot bag fillers, election campaign collaterals, tourism souvenirs and business promotions. Companies manufacturing these colored rubber wristbands offer them as color-filled, in multi-colors, color-cored, laser printed or graphically designed. The mass marketing of any thing can effectively yield unexpected success, as proven by the custom rubber wristbands for general cancer awareness. Hypoallergenic as well as water resistant, these are made of flexible and durable silicone gel or rubber.
Rubber Wristbands as Awareness Tools
When used as “awareness tools,” wristbands like these become fundraisers by themselves when they are sold as “cancer awareness bracelets,” for instance, in every color that corresponds to the type of cancer being prevented or treated. Pink silicone rubber bracelets sound off for breast cancer awareness as do white for lung cancer, lime green for lymphoma, dark blue for colon cancer, black for melanoma, grey for brain cancer, orange for leukemia and burgundy for multiple myeloma.
While these wristbands seem to be the promotional tool of choice for advocacies such as cancer awareness, their function is not exclusive to those groups. Personalized rubber bracelets have invaded the fashion industry as accessories for different types of casual outfits. Some of these bracelets come engraved and carry the simplest texts: “It’s A Runner’s World,” “Love Means Nothing to a Tennis Player” and “Walking is Exercise, Too!” are only some of the messages that the individuals wearing them want everybody to know. Online petitions may be gaining some ground, but unless you’re doing Facebook 24/7, silicone rubber wristbands are still ahead of the awareness game.