Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Susan G. Komen for the Cure doesn't understand breast cancer.

You'd think they would.

You see Susan G. Komen for the Cure is a charity set up in 1982 in memory of breast cancer victim Susan G. Komen. According to their website they've raised over $1.5 billion for the fight against breast cancer.

So why would I suggest they don't understand breast cancer? Simple. For this year's runs they've teamed up with KFC in their, "Buckets for the Cure" campaign. By teaming up with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, KFC is able to advertise their buckets of chicken as a tool in the fight against breast cancer - something that will likely drive sales of deep-fried chicken as well as help with their corporate image. A whole 50 cents from every pink bucket sold will go to Susan G. Komen for the Cure with a minimum KFC contribution of $1 million.

For KFC this is an incredible coup. Not only is this a feel-good cause but they're likely to make a fortune off of it. KFC hopes to donate $8.5 million to Susan G. Komen for the Cure and by my calculations that'll mean the sale of 17 million pink buckets of chicken.

17 million pink buckets containing 255 million pieces of deep-fried chicken, and I imagine that along with the 17 million pink buckets KFC will sell at least 34 million medium orders of fries, 17 million orders of gravy and 17 million orders of a KFC "salad".

So in effect Susan G. Komen for the Cure is helping to sell deep fried fast food and in so doing, helping to fuel unhealthy diets and obesity across America, an odd plan given that diet and obesity certainly impact on both the incidence and recurrence of breast cancer.

According to the helpful summary found at the National Cancer Institute, obesity increases the relative risk of developing post menopausal breast cancer by 50%. They also report that maintaining a body mass index of 25 could prevent 11,000 to 18,000 deaths per year from breast cancer in U.S. women over age 50, that breast cancer is more likely to be detected at a later stage in obese women than in lean women, and that weight gain during adulthood has been found to be the most consistent and strongest predictor of breast cancer risk in studies in which it has been examined.

It would be one thing if KFC simply handed over a cheque to Susan G. Komen for the Cure in the amount of $8.5 million - that'd be incredibly generous and welcome. However it's quite another thing for Susan G. Komen for the Cure to sell their name to KFC and allow them to use it to encourage the consumption of high calorie, high sodium fast food and the promotion of a lifestyle that increases the risk of not only breast cancer, but a myriad of diet and weight related illnesses. That's just reprehensible.

Shame on you Susan G. Komen for the Cure, surely you know better and yet you've chosen greed over responsibility.

Want to tell Susan G. Komen for the cure to stop "pinkwashing" KFC? You can send them a note with just a few simple clicks.

(Below is KFC's TV spot showing how they're using this partnership to sell goodwill and bad chicken - email subscribers will have to head to the blog to watch)

[Hat tip to my friend Julie from Dinner with Julie]