Friday, September 11, 2015

Pinkwashing: Another Phony Business Practice

Brendan Margolies

       The article I wanted to respond to addressed an advertising campaign that KFC launched as a partner with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, where a portion of each "pink" bucket of chicken sold was donated to the foundation. The biggest issue the reporter raises in his article is that KFC is basically encouraging people to continue becoming more obese in order to help cancer patients. The idea is basically synonymous with fighting fire with fire. Help one disease by further deteriorating one that is already running rampant through our country.

An even larger ethical fault is that KFC is trying to appeal to people's sympathy by connecting helping cancer research with consuming fried chicken. In reality, if someone wants to donate to cancer research, they should do it directly to a foundation instead of buying chicken. Another issue is that the campaign was helping people struggle with their weight justify their consumption of greasy food by connecting it to cancer research.

This campaign was certainly not the first time KFC has taken a questionable approach to their ad campaign. KFC has a history of dishonesty in their advertising, with cases like describing their deep fried chicken as "slow-cooked" and the fiasco that was the "Kentucky Grilled Chicken" campaign. While the article linked is simply accusations from doctors, once you read it you can see their is clearly truth to many of their claims. But in a case like that, I'm sure its so commonplace for fast-food chains to use suspect chemicals that exposing them would cause some serious public fear.

What's worse is when these companies go out of their way to be dishonest and deceitful to their consumers. I'm always troubled when I see fast-food chains try to mislabel themselves as healthy when the reality is the main reason people go there is to consume cheap, greasy food. So when I found out about the public concern surrounding the Heart Attack Grill, I was honestly pretty surprised.

While its obvious that they sell especially greasy foods, at least they own up to what they are. They don't try to claim that they have any healthy options, and hilariously offer a vegan menu that simply includes cigarettes with "no animal additives". Their website is extremely satiric and takes a bunch of funny shots at the government like the disclaimer at the bottom and the point about the 8.1% tax.

In a world full of misleading advertisements and companies willing to do whatever they can to make the most money, a shot of honesty and reality is refreshing. More companies should be willing to make fun of themselves a bit, depending on what kind of product they are selling. Our generation enjoy and are entertained by people and company who are willing to acknowledge their faults and work with them.

 I pointed out in class that after I read the advertising code of ethics, I found myself chuckling at a number of the standards set, simply because they are broken so often. Realistically, its hard to find any ethical faults with the Heart Attack Grill's campaign other than the fact that they are selling food that is extremely unhealthy, which they acknowledge themselves.

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