Ok, so since I don’t watch TV, I am sometimes a tad behind on the latest marketing travesties. But thanks to free TV on Jet Blue airlines, I can catch up. So while traveling last week I saw the KFC ads asking me to support the breast cancer cause by purchasing a bucket of chicken. It was then I realized what I miss most about TV: the outrage.
Here’s the deal: For every pink bucket of cancer-promoting, heart-clogging, animal-torturing fried chicken you purchase, KFC will donate a whopping 50 cents to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Even more disgusting, as the Komen website explains: “Names of breast cancer survivors and those who have lost their battle with breast cancer will be listed on the sides of the bucket.” (Is that kind of like a war memorial?)
So I was happy this morning to sign Breast Cancer Action’s petition to ask both KFC and Susan G. Komen to stop “pinkwashing” — Breast Cancer Action’s term for exploiting breast cancer victims in the name of charity. For the complete pinkwashing treatment, you really must visit KFC’s Buckets for the Cure.
Then came back this lame reply from Margo Lucero, Susan G. Komen’s director of “Global Corporate Relations” (a bad sign right there), which first simply repeats the verbiage already on the org’s website:
Thank you for your e-mail to Susan G. Komen for the Cure® – we do appreciate you taking the time to tell us how you feel about this partnership. You should know that our partnership with KFC is designed to help reach millions of women we might not otherwise reach with breast health education and awareness messages which we consider critical to our mission. This additional outreach is made possible through KFC’s 5,300 restaurants (about 900 of them in communities not yet served by a Komen Affiliate). This partnership also helps us to generate funding toward the nearly $1.5 billion in research and community programs that Komen has funded over 30 years – programs that are literally saving women’s lives through better treatments and early detection.
Next comes the excuses, and the troubling framing of food choices being a matter of personal responsibility, not to mention giving KFC props for providing “healthy” choices and nutrition “advice.” (!)
Our partnership focuses on healthy options at KFC – healthy choice menu and advice on its Web site on how consumers can limit fat and calorie consumption in its products., for example. Ultimately, we believe that the decision to maintain a well-balanced diet lies in the hands of the consumer. KFC provides tools to make those choices, by providing a
In other words, we need the cash, so leave us alone. But KFC has the most to gain out of this arrangement. In addition to positive PR, the campaign will of course encourage more purchases, and 50 cents a bucket is well, just a drop in the bucket. Meanwhile, KFC’s parent company, Yum Brands posted an impressive 10 percent increase in profits in the first quarter while revenue topped $2 billion.