The next "NyQuil chicken" trend might be using your product: Here's what to do if that happens

Some brands say knock it off. Some say knock yourself out.
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Know Your TikTok via YouTube

· 3 min read

Hard to say whether the recent TikTok challenge, NyQuil chicken, was more dangerous or disgusting. As demonstrated in videos on TikTok (some of which have been  removed), the recipe calls for cooking chicken in cough syrup.

Along with the FDA, which sent out a warning about the dangers of the practice, Procter & Gamble, the parent company of NyQuil maker Vicks, took to social media to tell consumers it was a bad idea.

“Consumer safety is our number one priority, and we do not endorse inappropriate use of our product,” @NyQuilDayQuil tweeted on September 20. “It should be taken as directed using the dosage cup provided - not to exceed 4 doses in 24 hrs.”

Telling consumers to knock it off when they don’t use products as directed is a typical response from brands. But it’s not the only response.

Knock it off

When brands urged consumers to stop using products off-label.

Benadryl. In another TikTok challenge in 2020, users urged one another to film themselves after they’d taken enough Benadryl to hallucinate. Benadryl maker Johnson & Johnson issued a statement warning them not to: “The Benadryl TikTok trend is extremely concerning, dangerous, and should be stopped immediately.”

Tide Pods. Here we go again. In this TikTok challenge from 2018, users popped Tide Pods into their mouths and posted videos spewing suds.

“What the heck is going on, people?” former NFL star Rob Gronkowski said in a video that @tide tweeted in 2018. “Use Tide Pods for washing, not eating.”

Preparation H: In 1975, a Newsweek article described what it called the “newest cosmetic fad”: women using Preparation H, the hemorrhoidal cream, under their eyes to reduce puffiness.

Every few years since, journalists resurface this unusual use of Preparation H as someone’s novel beauty secret, and TikTok users, are—of course—following suit. But the highest profile mention of this in recent years was when Kim Kardashian's makeup artist, Mario Dedivanovic, told an audience in 2017 that he applied it under her eyes.

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The brand’s website has an FAQ section, where it says, “We do not recommend the use of Preparation H for any condition other than the uses indicated on the label.”

Knock yourselves out

When brands encouraged using their products in creative ways.

Vaseline: The brand’s original product, petroleum jelly, lists how it can moisturize and protect the skin on its label while warning against use for deep wounds, animal bites, and serious burns.

But on its website, the brand also lists 101 other uses for the product, including such household uses as applying it to stuck zippers, to wood to remove scratches, and to hair to remove stuck gum.

Bag Balm: Bag Balm was introduced in Vermont in 1899 to soothe cows’ udders, but in the process of milking, farming families found it helped their chapped hands, too. You can still put it on Bessie when you’re squeezing out a gallon, but people have been using it for so long that all the uses listed on its label are more about moisturizing humans.

Arm & Hammer baking soda: It’s for—duh—baking, but the brand’s website highlights bicarbonate of soda’s myriad uses as a household cleaner and deodorizer.
Heinz white vinegar: Like baking soda, it’s touted in countless articles as a cleaner and deodorizer. On its website, Heinz highlights that, along with doing its thing in a vinaigrette, white vinegar is a “natural cleanser.”

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