Monday, January 12, 2015

Canadian Cancer Society "Incredibly Proud" of Partnership with Domino's Pizza

Last week I posted about the partnership between the Canadian Cancer Society and Domino's Pizza, a partnership which led the Canadian Cancer Society to encourage its followers to fulfill their "eat more veggies" New Year's resolution by ordering fast food pizza and telling them that doing so would be akin to ordering hope.

The folks from the CBC's The 180 read my piece and interviewed me about it. They also interviewed Rowena Pinto, the Vice President of Public Affairs and Strategic Initiatives with the Canadian Cancer Society's Ontario Division.

Paraphrasing, Pinto told The 180,
  • That the Canadian Cancer Society was, "incredibly proud", and "very, very, happy", with their relationship with Domino's Pizza
  • That the partnership was above board because there has never been a study that specifically links pizza to cancer
  • That people are going to eat pizza anyways so it's a good idea for the Canadian Cancer Society to take advantage of that
  • That the campaign wasn't in fact telling people to go get pizza but rather was only geared for Domino's existing customer base (a point that The 180 took Pinto to task over)
  • That everything is ok in moderation.
Sure, fast food pizza here and there isn't going to kill you or give you cancer, but there's little doubt that one of the major drivers of our society's struggles with diet and weight related illness is the normalization of fast and junky foods as regular, everyday parts of our lives. This normalized culture of convenience is certainly in part encouraged and permitted by the healthwashed use of candy and junk food for fundraising - a practice which may have been inconsequential (and rare) 60 years ago, but superimposed on our health issues today, is just plain wrong (and constant). And it's especially wrong when adopted by health organizations whose causes are themselves impacted by low quality diets like that of the Canadian Cancer Society who by serving as a champion and/or an apologist for our fast food culture, is championing and apologizing for a major contributor to cancer risk as well as so many other diet relatable diseases.

Often, doing what's right isn't the same thing as doing what's easy, but that doesn't mean doing what's right shouldn't be done. Selling illness in the name of health should not be the business of the Canadian Cancer Society, and given both during the radio interview and then later on Twitter, the Canadian Cancer Society felt it important to point out that there were more dollars involved than just the $10,000 of this particular campaign, I must also apparently point out that no amount of money will make the wrong thing right. Somehow I would have thought that the Canadian Cancer Society would have already known that.

[Listen to the whole interview here]