As the website URL suggests, the campaign sports the unwieldy name of 'Buckets for the Cure."
The redoubtable Scotty Henderson, and many others, have raised the issue of "cause-nitive dissonance,' to coin a term.
That is whether fried food should be supporting breast cancer research, since research has shown obesity be a risk-factor for breast cancer and since fried chicken is high in fat. Many, many others, including the Wall Street Journal, have weighed in.
This issue of 'tainted money' is one I've raised more than once and can appreciate.
Back in 2007 Newsweek reporter Jessica Bennett asked me, "Advertising is obviously not about morals. But isn't there a moral conflict in the idea that cause marketing is tapping into consumption guilt while at the same time feeding that excess?"
Here was my response then and I think it also speaks to this case as well.
"It seems to me that you're asking the tainted money question. Every charity in the country sooner or later deals with the question of 'tainted' money. And they have to decide for themselves what kind of money... for them... is tainted."But I've got a different question. Why is KFC telling me that they're trying to raise the 'largest single donation to end breast cancer forever?' That is, KFC has guaranteed a $1 million donation to Komen and has set an $8 million goal for the campaign. That would be the largest-ever single donation to Komen.
"And it's a different answer for one charity than it is for the next. When I was at Children's Miracle Network, for instance, we had the chance to do a deal with a beer company but we choose not to. But I believe the MDA still has a relationship of longstanding with Coors. Hard-core environmental charities might not take money from the oil companies."
"What your question suggests to me is that money that comes from a promotion that encourages consumption is considered by some to be tainted. My response is: that depends on the charity. "
"Personally, if I were the executive director of a charity that filled some basic human need; shelter, food, clothing, maybe some kinds of healthcare, there probably wouldn't be any money that was 'tainted.'"
"I believe that's the way Mother Teresa looked at the large donations from Charles Keating, a man she praised effusively at the time even though he eventually did jailtime for his crimes. On the other hand, if I were the executive director of a symphony, I would certainly turn down money from someone like Keating."
Am as I as a potential patron of KFC really supposed to care about their internal fundraising goals?
How different is that from Exxon telling me that they're trying to trying to have their best quarter ever?
What do I care about KFC's apparent sense of competition with other Komen sponsors?
Shouldn't the appeal that's inherent in Komen (added to the ridiculous volume that KFC does) be enough to put the Buckets for the Cure campaign over the top in people's hearts and minds?
It seems that KFC, and one supposes, Komen have confused marketing goals with marketing positioning.
And that strikes me as laziness by the creatives at both KFC, Komen, and any agencies they used.