KFC and Moms Blasted for Using Bloggers’ Children to Sell New Kids Meals


It’s a very common practice amongst mom bloggers to accept products from companies to review or promote to their audiences. The bloggers get everything from candy bars to mattresses and vacations for free and the brands benefit because, for what is usually no more cost than samples of their product, they get a lot of highly influential publicity.

This weekend, some of those mom bloggers came under quite a bit of fire from their peers. Several moms were invited by Kentucky Fried Chicken to visit the restaurant’s headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky to learn about their new “healthy” kids meals and in turn promote them to their followers using #KFCKidsMeals on Twitter. That’s pretty standard, but where eyebrows raised on this publicity event was that the company invited the moms with their kids.

The health of our children is a hot button issue right now, and the #KFCKidsMeals hashtag was practically high jacked by moms condemning both KFC and the participating moms for subjecting their children to what is no better than chemically laden, nutritionally void food.

Leah Segedie, known best as @BookieBoo and the leader of Mamavation, was one of the moms on the outside of #KFCKidsMeals tweeting in. Any time you intersect kids and nutrition you’ll find Leah, and this campaign was no different.

“I basically took control of it to make sure it was done in a fair way without attacking the bloggers involved,” she told us. “But I can’t control what people write on their blogs, obviously.”

Leah spent this weekend tweeting out questions to the moms involved. She wanted to know about MSG, sodium, carcinogens, and other chemical ingredients in the food. Who better to ask than the people sitting right inside KFC HQ? As far as we could tell, no one got back to her with those answers; although, one tweet implied that the company would get in touch with her.

Why does she care? Well, she notes that 40 percent of today’s children will have cancer at some point in their lives. “When I see brands that are contributing to that statistic try to make themselves look like they are heroes for cutting calories, I call that lying through marketing. It’s disingenuous and it’s wrong to try and sell a message of health that simply is not true.”

She called this health washing, and she’s not the only one calling out KFC for it. Kathie Melocco, on her site of the same name, is warning bloggers about health washing. “Brands who try to play in the health space must be careful not to misrepresent their facts. It doesn’t matter if you are KFC, a tube of toothpaste or a startup, the issues are all the same. Using bloggers’ children to push your message is just wrong!”

Leah says when KFC decided to move this promotion to the open forum that is Twitter, she called them on it, and brought with her a legion of loyal, fellow-mom followers.

While we believe several moms attended the event, only three were clearly identifiable on Twitter amongst all of the anti-KFC tweets going through. @VeraSweeney, @RealMomReviews, and @MomStart were all contacted about this story, but none replied. KFC told us via a press release (the company wasn’t available for further comment at the time of publishing) that they consider this a “thinking moms” kids meal, “one that is equal parts balanced options and interactive fun for their kids.” The company’s Chief Marketing Officer, Jason Marker, commented in the release that “By pairing our freshly-prepared chicken choices with delicious, convenient fruit and KFC’s famous sides, we’ve created a meal with balanced and kid-friendly options.” The only fruit available is a pureed pouch of apples and the green beans, macaroni and cheese, and mashed potatoes leave a lot to be desired from a nutritional perspective.

What do these new meals really look like? Vera Sweeney tweeted out a photo of the revamped kids meals while appealing to the mom who is too busy to feed her kids anything other than a fast food meal.




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