If you’ve been reading this blog since last fall, you might remember that I did a series of pieces on pinkwashing. To briefly summarize: corporations will often pick a cause to champion and create a campaign to market a special product that is co-branded with a charity. One of the most ubiquitous examples is Yoplait and Susan G Komen Foundation. For every lid rinsed and mailed in during the campaign, Yoplait donates money to Komen.
In Katie’s Perfect World, corporations and people would quietly donate money as they see fit. However, I am savvy enough to know that no corporate altruism goes unsung. There are times when these partnerships make sense and I suppose if a corporation takes the time and effort to support a foundation, they ought to be allowed to take credit. New Balance® makes a special pink running shoe and donates a portion to Komen. That makes sense to me; the link between exercise and health is well-documented.
Some of the partnerships look good at first, but tend to disintegrate under scrutiny. Yoplait, for example, used dairy that came from cows that were treated with an artificial growth hormone. There have been some preliminary studies linking those hormones to cancer and eventually they caved into public pressure and removed the hormones. For years however, they were collecting money for Komen by selling a product that may contribute to the development of breast cancer.
Sometimes the partnerships are so outrageous that you think it must be satire.
That’s right. For every pink bucket of fried chicken you buy from KFC, a donation will be made to Komen.
We might not have all of the answers about breast cancer yet, but the link between obesity and cancer is solid. And I don’t think anyone anywhere would argue that Kentucky Fried Chicken essential to a healthy diet. Or part of anything remotely healthy.
Interestingly, the other campaign KFC is running right now is the introduction of the Double Down, a sandwich of sorts, made from bacon and cheese surrounded by a fried chicken bun.
Even the fine print on the pink bucket campaign website is mystifying. The big print says they want to raise $8.5 million. The tiny print said that their guaranteed donation is $1M and that “customer purchases of KFC buckets during the promotion will not directly increase the total contribution.”
I’m giving this one a big WTF and seriously wondering why Komen would enter into this partnership.
Also, I’d like to mention Breast Cancer Action’s Think Before You Pink program. They brought this to my attention earlier this week. Industries need watchdogs, even when they clearly shouldn’t.