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The sleepy chicken TikTok challenge was weird

Loves to write, loves to research, and loves the performance of all things social & blog strategy.

NyQuil chicken proved one of our worst collective online tendencies.

Turns out, the viral TikTok, dubbed “sleepy chicken,” was never actually a thing. It was an old forum post from the 2010s that got recycled and caught in the viral crossfire. In this case, an FDA-issued warning was the straw that broke the camel’s (chicken’s?) back and skyrocketed it mainstream.

sleepy chicken nyquil

If you search NyQuil chicken on TikTok, you’ll get hit with a slew of content about cooking chicken in NyQuil. (Having Tide Pod challenge flashbacks yet?)

It’s not entirely clear how many of these videos are from the same creator. Or, if everyone is taking a turn at the “challenge.” But one thing is for sure: Sometimes things go viral for all the wrong reasons.

This video does a great job of breaking down how the trend came to be and WTF NyQuil chicken is all about. 

Whatever the reason for considering “sleepy chicken” (to be clear, a dangerous idea that no one should do), it’s safe to say it’s primarily a gross-out stunt. It’s a stunt that becomes a jumping-off point for new content. Like those reaction duets, warnings from doctors, news segments, and even a full FDA warning.

TikTok has been deleting the videos as well as issuing warnings to users that it’s clearly unsafe to cook, let alone eat this recipe.

NyQuil’s Twitter account joined in on the conversation declaring, “We do not endorse inappropriate use of our product.”


Twitter Spaces with The Sauce

Here’s a snippet of our conversation (and vibe) on The Sauce Pod when the Sleepy Chicken issue came up.

You can listen to the full episode of The Sauce Pod on Twitter Spaces here.