KFC Gets Pink Washed For Breast Cancer, Manly For Meat


KFC launched their new pink bucket campaign yesterday, which they hope will result in the largest ever donation to breast cancer research. Monday also saw the debut of the “Double Down.” How are these things related? Marketing.

First, let me get this out of the way and state the obvious: donating money to breast cancer research is a good thing. However, breast cancer awareness tends to rub me the wrong way. All the pink feels infantalizing, and all the gratuitous shots of breasts makes us worry that breast cancer is being cast as the “sexy” cancer, one that men need to worry about because it involves boobs, not women. Fortunately, KFC’s Buckets for the Cure ads don’t fall into either trap. They begin by showing several actors holding buckets of chicken saying “for Carol,” “for my wife,” and “for my mom.” After this touching moment, a soothing female voice adds:

For every pink bucket of Grilled or Original Recipe, KFC makes a 50 cent contribution to Susan G. Komen for the Cure®. Together we can make the largest donation in Komen history to help end breast cancer forever.

The videos are available online. KFC has also produced a Hispanic version, which follows the same basic formula with different actors. The ads aren’t bad, and they are raising money for a good cause – so what’s the problem?

We probably don’t even need to point this out, but KFC is not exactly known for its health food. This is slightly ironic, but what’s even more interesting is their ads for the new “Double Down” sandwich:

Looks like someone got their hands on a Tracy Jordan Meat Machine, but sadly, KFC is not kidding. This is a real product – one being marketed primarily to men. In the ad above, men are reduced to whiny, high-pitched children who need their meat. After consuming a bread-less glob of meat, cheese, and bacon, they are cured of their feminine traits, and can speak once more in the low growls of a manly man.

Although the message they’re trying to get across is meat produces testosterone, nutrition facts tell a different story.

With all that sodium, the only thing dropping faster than their testicles are their kidney stones.

To recap, this is a company that takes pride in creating a novelty item meal and selling it to men as the manliest ‘witch ever!, but they also want to support a women’s health organization through the ubiquitous pink-washing techniques. I’m torn. And so are feminist bloggers. BlogHer is obviously on board (and so are the eight bloggers who shared stories about how breast cancer affected their lives) but breast cancer survivor Cathy Bueti says she is “nauseated” by the partnership. I’m curious to hear what you have to say.

KFC – Buckets For The Cure [Komen.org]
KFC – Buckets For The Cure [KFC Ad]
Pink Nausea Hits Fast Food Market [In My Life]
Join The Cause With KFC And Susan G. Komen For The Cure! [BlogHer]

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