Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Which came first... the chicken or the cure?

A little story about my personal history with KFC. Back in 2006, the staff of the TV station I worked at went on a "diet challenge." A local fitness center gave us a very restricted meal plan, where we ate the same thing 6 days a week. At dinner, I was supposed to eat grilled breast of chicken or fish, plus salad and rice. I was single, working long days and didn't have a dishwasher, so most nights I ate a salad with grilled chicken, plus a small side of rice from a Bangor, Maine KFC.

It may not have been organic, it may not have been perfect, but I actually lost 10 pounds on that diet. I was glad my local branch of KFC seemed to use pretty good quality lettuce and tomato in its salads, something not every fast food outlet can boast of. Also, in a town where the most popular quick meal is the lobster roll, it was an affordable supper.

Perhaps that experience has kept me from having a strong initial reaction to Susan G. Komen's "Buckets for the Cure" campaign. If you make good choices it is possible to get a balanced meal at a fast food restaurant, something I learned first hand.

Now in a perfect world, Komen could hook up with, oh say, The Long Island Cauliflower Growers' Association.  But in reality, Komen's method of raising money for breast cancer awareness and research programs involves partnerships with major corporations.

Is Komen saying women can prevent breast cancer by eating lots of fried chicken? I guess someone could interpret it that way, though I hope most people have more common sense than that. So to me, the real issue with this campaign is that the message is not very clear.

In the non-profit world, your brand and message are your product, and Komen's leaders will have to decide if the revenue from the promotion is worth the negative press. There is certainly more to consider about the charity than this one program.

Komen provides a unique opportunity for women across the country who are concerned about breast cancer to participate in fund raising. There is no exact equivalent. I have connected online with a lot of great women due to the existence of Komen chapters located from Orange County, California to Puerto Rico. Is Komen the only worthy breast cancer charity? Absolutely not, but the organization does serve a fairly unique function in the way it works on both a national and local level.

So I am going to hold off on judging the Susan G. Komen foundation's merits on the basis of this one promotion. But hey, maybe someone can start designing some cute pink cauliflower wrappers for next year?


Hey one question, if you are a Komen volunteer, what's your take on this? Feel free to comment!


  1. I guess I should add, we did a lot of cardio and had a very specific meal plan for breakfast and lunch as well.

  2. Screenings are wholly unable to differentiate between innocuous and deadly cancers. Harmless cancers are often identified and aggressively treated. Malignant cancers are often missed or discovered too late, proving the point that screenings are largely useless.