The LIVESTRONG Bracelet is a yellow silicone gel bracelet launched in May 2004 as a fund-raising item for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, founded by cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong. The bracelet itself was developed by Nike and their ad agency Wieden+Kennedy.
The bracelet is part of the "Wear Yellow Live Strong" educational program. The program is intended to raise money for cancer research, raise cancer awareness, and encourage people to live life to the fullest. The bracelet sells individually, as well as in packs of 10, 100, and 1,200 as part of an effort to raise $25.1 million for the Lance Armstrong Foundation in cooperation with Nike who manufactures the bracelets in Austin, Texas the home of Lance Armstrong and other world wide manufacturing plants and sells the bracelets through their Nike outlets worldwide. This target was achieved within 6 months, and there have now been 70 million LIVESTRONG bracelets sold to date. Individual bands sell for US$1 each.
Yellow was chosen for its importance in professional cycling, as it is the color of the yellow jersey worn by the leader of the Tour de France, which Armstrong won seven consecutive times. Other charities were inspired by the success of the LIVESTRONG band, and many charities have developed their own bracelets for raising money and awareness.
The band became a popular fashion item in the United States by the end of the summer of 2004, especially among those following Armstrong's Tour de France effort. They soon gained popularity worldwide. It first appeared on a majority of the contenders at the 2004 Tour de France. Personalities such as 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, news anchor Katie Couric, actor Matt Damon, and several athletes at the Athens Olympic Gameshttp://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2004/writers/tim_layden/09/10/layden.0910/index.html wore the band. Appearances on and endorsements by popular TV shows such as Oprah, also raised its profile enormously.
On an August 2007 edition of the satirical television show The Colbert Report (where Armstrong made a guest appearance), Stephen Colbert parodied the wristband, creating the "Wriststrong" wristband, in his growing campaign against "Wrist violence".
A rush to purchase the bands resulted in profiteering through such venues as eBay, angering Armstrong. eBay refused to ban the sale of Livestrong bands, saying it was an online marketplace where buyers and sellers meet and determine their own prices. As a result of the bands becoming fashion items, counterfeit wristbands also became available in places such as fleamarkets—potentially detracting from the cause.
The Livestrong Wristbands have inspired numerous other wristbands for charities, and various political causes. (See gel bracelet.)