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More Pinkwashing? Frito-Lay Encourages Women to “Be Fearless”

According to a recent press release, Frito-Lay and its brands now encourage women to “be fearless” and support awareness and early detection of breast cancer. This comes on the heels of Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Pink Buckets, a breast cancer campaign that we talked about recently. KFC’s campaign, which raises money for Susan G. Komen just like Frito-Lay, drew a lot of criticism due to its unclear marketing message and the unhealthful nature of fried chicken.

The press release points out that SunChips multigrain snacks, Rold Gold pretzels and the Baked! line of products from PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division will donate $1 million to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Each product will receive a “pink ribbon makeover” in conjunction with in-store collateral and messaging to teach women the steps to ‘living fearlessly’ against the risk for breast cancer by incorporating lifestyle practices that will help aid in early detection of the disease.

While Frito-Lay’s campaign doesn’t require the purchase of products nor comes with any tricky fine print as did KFC’s, it is likely going to raise a similar amount of eyebrows due to its contradictory marketing message.

Similar to KFC, it seems alarming that breast cancer should be cured with products that are unhealthful and a key contributor to heart disease, the actual #1 killer of women in America!

When considering Frito-Lay’s marketing message, one might argue that 1) there are few if any “actual lifestyle choices” that would aid in the early detection of the disease except for properly screening for breast cancer, which isn’t considered a “lifestyle” choice; and 2) of the few “actual lifestyle choices” that do exist, diet and exercise are some of the most important ones to decrease your risk of breast cancer.

Even though Frito-Lay chose products that weren’t at the top of their unhealthy list, some people may still prefer to fight breast cancer by buying products that would actually contribute to your health, not take away from it.

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