By Anne Landman on April 21, 2010

KFC "Buckets for the Cure"When a company promotes pink-ribboned products and claims to care about breast cancer while also selling products linked to disease or injury, it's called pinkwashing, and it's has taken some pretty outrageous forms in the last few years. Ford, Mercedes and BMW have all urged people to buy and drive cars in the name of breast cancer, but exhaust from internal combustion engines contains toxic chemicals linked to disease. The Yoplait yogurt company sold pink-lidded yogurt to raise money for breast cancer, while manufacturing products with milk from cows stimulated by the artificial hormone RBGH, which studies show increases the risk of breast cancer. (Some yogurt companies, including Yoplait, have stopped using RGBH.) There's even a breast cancer awareness gun, and we thought that took the cake.

"Buckets for the Cure"

Now KFC is offering a new example of pinkwashing: selling pink buckets of fried chicken to "end breast cancer forever." In an ironic twist, KFC's "Buckets for the Cure" campaign urges people to buy buckets of unhealthy food to help cure a disease that kills women. The American Institute for Cancer Research says there is "convincing evidence" that excess body fat increases the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. Obesity is also tied to shorter survival rates for women who develop breast cancer. Like most fast food chains, KFC has an overwhelming presence in communities known to have poor health outcomes, and the Susan G. Komen Foundation certainly must know that such social inequities effect breast cancer mortality rates. Given all this, "Buckets for the Cure" is a particularly disturbing pinkwashing partnership.

Cause Marketing Strikes Again

KFC's new "Double Down"KFC's new "Double Down"Companies team up with non-profits to engage in these kids of feel-good "cause marketing" campaigns to enhance public perception of their company and brands while also boosting sales. Given its timing, KFC may also be using the "Buckets for the Cure" campaign to offset the introduction of its amazing "Double Down," a deep-fried sandwich consisting of two pieces of fried chicken breast wrapped around cheese and bacon strips. The "original recipe" version of KFC's Double Down contains 32 grams of fat and 1,380 milligrams of sodium. A feel-good, anti-cancer campaign could be just the ticket to take attention away from this contribution to the obesity epidemic. KFC has also been struggling of late against other fast food outlets to keep its market share.

For every pink, five-dollar bucket of chicken it sells, KFC promises they will donate 50 cents to fight breast cancer. Imagine how much more good it could do if people skipped the fried chicken (or other pinked gimmick) and gave the entire amount they would have spent on it directly to breast cancer research.

Comments

Let's not forget Avon and the cosmetics companies. Even supposedly "green" companies like Aveda, that finance "research" denouncing products containing e.g. parabens, HAVE THEM in their products"""

Radical libs ain't got nothin' better to do than offer negative criticism of everyone but themselves. Jeez, Louise, get a friggin' life!

...and a Web site, and some insight!

Anne Landman

You are the spitting image of American stupidity version 2.0. I'm not sure where to begin with your asinine comment. And I'm not very liberal at all. Good luck in life. You're going to need it, Captain America.

I read your article and I think the author has read to much into the KFC for cure. Susan G. Komen foundation is not selling KFC, what I got out of the commercial is that KFC is donating money to SGK for finding the cure for cancer. When you buy a pink bucket so much of the proceeds go to SGK, just like when you donate money to walk a mile for SGK. Also when you see the commercial KFC has their grilled chicken in the bucket, so that to me says they are promoting healthy eating. I don't think it's idiotic to raise money for cancer research no matter who does it. How can the author say what causes cancer, I know people who don't eat meat only vegetables and live a healthy lifestyle and still die of cancer, also I see people with unhealthy lifestyles die of cancer. If we knew what causes cancer then we surely would have a cure. Sometimes you have to think outside the box.

I never said raising money for cancer research was "idiotic." What I did is point out the irony of selling junk food -- which is already a well-established contributor to a host of diseases, including obesity and heart disease -- to raise money to fight yet another disease: cancer. I also pointed out how, if people really care about funding cancer research, they could do substantially more good by simply giving their money directly to cancer research, instead of purchasing a product and only having a tiny part of their purchase go to help the cause.

Anne Landman

You are completely right. This is much more disgusting than a German TV-advertising where a beer brewery collects money for saving the rain forest. Don't stop thinking before helping. Most of the times there is a better way to help.

I loved and agree with your post, Anne.
Many of us (cancery-type people) are sick of this b.s. I don't know who these companies think they are fooling by selling random product either associated with disease or not. It makes more sense to donate money to a cause than try to appeal to someone to buy product for a dribbling 50 cents. It's insulting AND idiotic!

I understand that an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure, but the thing is that no one knows for sure just how far out we are from finding a cure. In the mean time though, I think it's more important to focus on the tasks at hand - for instance, methods of treatment for those who already have it. Having survived breast cancer myself, I found it a little frustrating that there was this relatively huge amount of support for breast cancer research, and little for those who are currently suffering. It's not that I don't appreciate all these donation commercials and pink ribbon stickers for your car and what not, but those do nothing for the ones like me, who have already undergone treatment, and are now focusing on breast reconstruction and getting their lives back.

Ignorance of scientific fact in evidence by some comments. High fat, processed diets have clearly been linked to breast cancers (and others). YUM Foods should be called on this, but even more suspect are SGK's willingness to accept money from a company that contributes to the problem. If these types of actions are permitted to stand, where we go next? Cardiac catheterization labs sponsored by Altria/RJR, Alzheimers wards supported by Ultimate Fighting Club, and liver transplant research programs made possible by a generous grant from the American Distillers Association?

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