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Watch Out, America. KFC Made Sunscreen (??) That Smells Like Fried Chicken (?!?)

As far as gag gifts go, Kentucky Fried Chicken’s new scented sunscreen is an impressive option. It smells like fried chicken, which is exactly how you wouldn’t want to smell while you’re out baking in the sun, but hey–that’s why it’s a gag gift.

Unfortunately, you’re out of time to grab a bottle for yourself, because KFC’s website claims to be “all out” of the free samples of this new sunscreen. Does it even really exist, or is the entire promotional website (and the commercial, embedded above) just a joke? Apparently it’s real, since the website insists over and over that it’s a “real product,” but also because Business Insider got a bottle to review. They report that the sunscreen does indeed possess “a very distinctive smell, quite different than the scent of a typical sunscreen.”

What’s really surprising about this sunscreen is that it’s actually coming out here in the United States. KFC is no stranger to bizarre spin-off products at this point, but none of them have ever showed up in the USA–until now. Indian KFCs recently put out the “Watt a Box,” which is a box of chicken that doubles as a charging station for your smartphone. Canadian KFCs released a chicken bucket that was also a photo printer. Most notoriously of all, Chinese KFCs put out chicken-flavored nail polish. Yes, flavored–unlike this sunscreen, which is not edible.

Also, you’ll notice that my byline has been the one that has appeared on every single KFC-related story around here, because … I can’t help it. They keep putting out weird stuff, and I can’t help but be charmed by it. I swear, they’re not paying me.

Anyway, as glad as I am that we Americans have finally gotten our own weird KFC marketing trend, I’m a little sad that it’s sunscreen. I mean, the nail polish was impressively gross, but chicken-scented sunscreen? It’s hard to decide which of those is weirder, but I think I hate the sunscreen slightly more. That’s only because unlike the nail polish, sunscreen is something that I would put in the “necessity” category rather than the “luxury” category.

On that note, I’m curious about whether or not this sunscreen actually works. KFC’s joke-filled website that advertises the product seems to imply that it works just as well as any other 30 SPF sunscreen, but the before and after photos of people with super-dark tans seem to imply that this product won’t actually protect anyone from the sun. Plus, every single summer, it feels like I read yet another expose about how most sunscreens don’t actually work, even the ones that say they do. So, there’s no way I would trust this KFC sunscreen to do anything other than serve as a good joke to play on your pals at the beach. This prank only works if you also brought some actual sunscreen with you. Otherwise … you’re the worst.

Anyway, as stated, KFC has already run out of samples on all of this stuff. So just keep an eye out for it in your friends’ beach bags this year. Give that sunscreen bottle a sniff before you start slathering it on, lest you be pranked!

(via Pajiba, image via KFC)

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Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (relay.fm/isometric), and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (robotknights.com).