KFC just unveiled an absurd new product: chicken-scented sunscreen

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(George Hamilton as the Extra Crispy ColonelKFC)
KFC is launching an unexpected new product: fried-chicken scented sunscreen.

Starting Monday, the chicken chain is giving away 3,000 free bottles of Col. Sanders’ Extra Crispy Sunscreen. US residents can receive the SPF 30 by visiting ExtraCrispySunscreen.com.

“Suntan lotion always smells like lotion,” KFC CMO Kevin Hochman told Business Insider. “So we thought — why not make it smell like fried chicken?”

The company will be giving away the sunscreen on a first-come, first-serve basis while supplies last. There’s a limit of one bottle per household.

The sunscreen follows the June launch of an ad campaign starring George Hamilton as the “Extra Crispy Colonel,” promoting the chain’s Extra Crispy Chicken. According to Hochman, response to the Extra Crispy Colonel’s ads “blew away [KFC’s] expectations,” prompting the company to look into new ways to extend the summer campaign. Then, someone suggested KFC sunscreen.

“These scents bring up these memories,” often of childhood visits to KFC, Hochman says. “We think that idea is why the sunscreen will catch on.”


(KFC nail polish proved to be a viral hit earlier this yearKFC)

In addition to trying to evoke childhood memories of KFC’s distinctive scent, the chicken chain is taking notes from international marketing campaigns.

In May, KFC debuted edible nail polish in Hong Kong, as a play on the chain’s “finger lickin’ good” slogan. The promotion quickly went viral, providing an example of the marketing power that the limited run of a weird product mashup can have in the connected world of social media.

But the real question is, how does the sunscreen actually smell?

Business Insider received a bottle of the scented sunscreen from KFC, and can report it has a very distinctive smell, quite different than the scent of a typical sunscreen.


(KFC Col. Sanders’ Extra Crispy SunscreenKFC)

Sniff-testers described the sunscreen as smelling like everything from maple syrup, to savory spices, to Milk Bar’s cereal milk. One person said it smelled just as intended — like fried chicken’s crispy outer coating. Others found themselves at a loss for words, reduced to babbling after getting a whiff of it.

In May 2015, KFC kicked off a new era in marketing with the reintroduction of Colonel Sanders. Since then, the brand has debuted a number of variations on the Colonel, a “Re-Colonelization” program, and new menu items including a take on the regional classic, Nashville Hot Chicken. Now, the brand has a sunscreen.

This may not be the end of KFC’s venture into creating mashups between fried chicken and everyday products. While Hochman says the chicken chain is “probably not” going to release an entire line of male grooming products, he hints the chicken chain may be releasing similar products in the future.

“Why wouldn’t you want to smell like fried chicken?” he asks.

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