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Corporate sponsorship gone wrong: Is this just a pink nightmare?

Kentucky Fried Chicken is doing a cause marketing promotion for the Susan Komen Foundation. You know, the one that fights breast cancer.

And there are a lot of people scratching their heads about that.  Some are even angry.  Many are calling it a huge blunder.

It looks like a corporate sponsorship gone wrong.

It’s tough to understand how greasy fast food and fighting breast cancer go together.  It’s almost like saying “Come and eat the fast food that will give you high cholesterol and heart disease, and we’ll give $0.50 to fight breast cancer.”

There’s just something incongruent about this corporate sponsorship.

I completely understand about getting corporate sponsors and cause-related marketing deals.  I’ve done them many times in my career.  This one just doesn’t seem right to me.

My colleague Nancy Schwartz thinks Komen has made a huge blunder and that this will hurt them. Here’s what she says:

“As I see it, Komen’s decision to partner with KFC has damaged the trust that exists between it and its supporters. Specifically, their actions thus far have:

  • Undermined its credibility. (It’s hard to believe they are focused on women’s health.)
  • Eroded its authenticity. (What does the organization stand for if they can’t see what’s wrong with this partnership?)
  • Alienated its supporters. (See the comments above from walkers and donors.)”

You can read her entire post here.

What do you think about this promotion?   Click on the comment link and leave your two cents about this corporate sponsorship gone wrong.

By | 2019-04-24T04:18:11+00:00 May 13th, 2010|Corporate sponsors, Real stories|0 Comments

About the Author:

Sandy shows Founders and leaders of small nonprofits how to fully fund their big vision so they can spend their time changing lives instead of worrying about money. She has helped dozens of small nonprofits go from “nickel-and-dime fundraising” to mastering donor-based fundraising, inspiring their donors to give often and give big.   Learn how to raise the money you need to fund your new nonprofit without begging, doing without, or paying out of your own pocket.   Click here to download our free ebook Fund Your Dream.

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  1. Dr. Jennifer Rozenhart May 13, 2010 at 8:52 am - Reply

    I think this is a HUGE mistake. I was APPALLED when I saw this on a commercial, absolutely ridiculous! Not only do those foods contribute to heart disease and high cholesterol but also CANCER! I have similar complaints about the partnership with AVON, they also have known potential carcinogens in their products and REFUSE to remove them. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has asked if they could re-formulate and they declined. So, to be so “supportive” of the 3 -day walk and still continue to use carcinogenic chemistry in their products is completely unconscionable. You really have to be careful who you partner with and if their message/product is congruent with YOURS!

    • Sandy May 13, 2010 at 9:45 am - Reply

      Love that passion Jennifer!! I think there are HUNDREDS if not thousands of people who feel the same way you do.


  2. Kristina Shands May 13, 2010 at 10:11 am - Reply

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought the campaign was a bad idea. Why would any “health” organization want to team up with KFC given what they sell and the type of bad publicity they have received recently with the double down sandwich and the animal rights uproar last year.

    I’ve always been wary of Komen’s because I feel they are just too big. I have no idea how much of the money they raise goes to research and support and how much is for overhead, promotions, salaries, fundraising and the like. How much of the money raised in the community stays in the community?

    I agree completely that this campaign will hurt their image. Thanks for the great post.

    • Sandy May 13, 2010 at 11:57 am - Reply

      I’m right with you! It just doesn’t seem to fit!


  3. Linda Pucci May 13, 2010 at 11:09 am - Reply

    I can always count on you to say outloud what I’ve been thinking to myself, Sandy. Yes, this seems to be a big “clang” to me in terms of what fits for both brands. I hope it won’t hurt Komen’s campaigns, but really, what were they thinking?

    • Sandy May 13, 2010 at 11:58 am - Reply

      Thanks Linda! It’ll be interesting to see how big the backlash is from this campaign.


  4. Melanie McGhee May 13, 2010 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    Wow. I missed that somehow. What an insensitive and unaware gaff. This, to me, goes right back to the importance of cultivating awareness as a way of life. Pretty unbelievable. I think that it does undermine Komen’s credibility. Kind of makes me want to go to Charity Navigator and see how they rank.

    • Sandy May 13, 2010 at 6:48 pm - Reply

      I believe this is the first thing the organization has done like this, so they might look pretty good on Charity Navigator. It really shines the light on how we as donors need to stay “in the know” about organizations we support.


  5. Terri Brooks May 14, 2010 at 6:40 am - Reply

    I’m still scratching my head on that one!!! Although I do eat KFC on occasion, I do it knowing that it’s not good for me and then to have them promote breast cancer awareness on their greasy buckets is just too much.

    Like I said, the question marks are still hovering over my head?????


    • Sandy May 14, 2010 at 5:38 pm - Reply

      It’s bizarre, Terri.


  6. Sue Painter May 15, 2010 at 6:11 am - Reply

    It’s so clear to me that “politics make strange bedfellows” sometimes. I’ve not been impressed for a year or so now with the Komen organization, the vibe has been increasingly corporate and “off” to me. When I saw this partnership I was not surprised, although it seems ill-advised and “energetically off” to me. I can see why KFC would do it, for sure. But Komen has much to lose, and only money to gain.
    Sue Painter

    • Sandy May 16, 2010 at 4:13 am - Reply

      I agree Sue. Not only does it feel “off” to me too, but I think there’s something very bad when a nonprofit focuses too much on the money, and starts to sacrifice image and reputation for it. You can’t do that kind of thing long before it bites you.


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