Practically in the same breath as launching its Double Down Sandwich stunt, KFC debuted its Buckets for the Cure campaign, which promises to donate 50 cents from every pink bucket sold to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation. Since April 5, the fast-food chain has raised more than $1.6 million in the hopes of reaching $8.5 million by May 30. (You can also donate via BucketsForTheCure.com.)
If you haven’t seen the ad promoting the campaign, it features a string of people each brandishing their pink bucket for a mother, sister, daughter, or friend. No mention is made, of course, of the fact that eating Kentucky Fried Chicken by the bucketful may increase your chances of being diagnosed with breast cancer in the first place. As the Washington Post health blog pointed out, the National Cancer Institute’s Web site warns that “breast cancer is associated with high intakes of well-done, fried, or barbecued meats.”
A recent study went even further, suggesting that eating fatty foods while pregnant not only puts your children at a greater risk for breast cancer, but also your grandchildren.
Not that KFC is the first major food corp to support a health cause. The Independent reports that M&M’s went pink in 2009, donating $500,000 to breast cancer research. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Pepsi is financing obesity studies at Yale, while Coke has partnered with a national program to promote healthy hearts and lungs.
Still, the idea of supporting breast cancer via an industry directly related to causing it feels like fighting racism through the KKK’s inner city youth program. Or, perhaps less of a reach, like going green by buying a Prius. (And, yes, the term pinkwashing, referring to corporations that position themselves as leaders in the fight again breast cancer, has already been coined.) There are so many ways to support breast cancer research. Doing so via KFC seems just wrong. Because, while 50 cents might go to Susan G. Komen, the rest is still going right back into the deep fryer.