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KFC Wants to Give a Baby $11,000

Photograph by Twenty20

If you're almost due and still don't know what to name your baby, Kentucky Fried Chicken has an option for you to consider—and your baby might even get $11,000 for it.

No, we're not being drumatic.

In a new marketing stunt, the fast-food chain specializing in fried chicken said it will give the first U.S. baby born on Colonel Sanders' birthday (September 9) named after him (his name was Harland) an $11,000 college donation.

Harland, which means "meadow of the hares," hasn't been in the top 1,000 names for baby boys born in the U.S. for decades. (Actually it wasn't even in the top 3,000 last year, according to the Social Security Administration). But KFC is hoping to turn the tide.

“Even though vintage names are making a comeback, our iconic founder’s name was dwindling in popularity, and we couldn’t just stand idly by and let that happen,” said Andrea Zahumensky, KFC U.S. chief marketing officer.

But the promotion has elicited some criticism, including a think piece by the Atlantic saying, "There might soon be a child whose naming rights were effectively purchased by a company that sells fast food."

Would parents who participate be "selling" or gambling on their kid's name? Also Harland isn't a very gender-neutral moniker, so are baby girls just shit out of luck? And, while $11,000 is a cute nod to KFC's 11 herbs and spices, by the time this baby goes to college (if they decide to), you might only be able to buy your kid's textbooks and a few courses with that amount of money.

On the other hand, if Harland is so underused, why not treat it as a unisex name (like Billie, Harper and Madison)? Also, $11,000 is no small amount for any family, period. If you're a true KFC fan or you genuinely like the name Harland, having that cash cushion for your kid isn't such a bad deal. (And they probably won't have four other Harlands in their homeroom).

So, if the colonel's name flies with you, or you know an expecting parent who will be all in, know that the entry site will go live on September 9, 2018, and stay open for 30 days. Be sure to read the full list of rules, but here's the gist of it: To enter, parents will have to submit the name, date and time of their baby's birth (with an official record like a birth certificate or hospital records), along with their contact information.

Good cluck.

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