Lessons Re: Stupid Social “Trends” And The Stupid People Who Report Them


Ripped from the headlines:

The Food and Drug Administration does not want you to cook chicken in NyQuil

I repeat: 

The FDA does NOT want you to cook chicken in the nighttime sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head, fever, so you can rest medicine. 

In a “consumer update” on its website, the US government agency warned: “A recent social media video challenge encourages people to cook chicken in NyQuil…or another similar OTC cough and cold medication, presumably to eat.” 

Search “NyQuil chicken” or “Sleepy Chicken” and you’ll find the breathless, hand-wringing media reports…

…including one from a TV station in Houston that opens like this: 

Earnest male news reader: “OK. So this might be hard to believe. But it is a thing. It is true. People are cooking their chicken with NyQuil.” 

Gravely concerned female news reader: “Yeah. It’s gotten so bad the FDA actually had to send out a warning NOT TO DO IT!” 

The person-on-the-street interviews followed. One random dude shared this “insight” with the reporter: “I think it’s kinda obnoxious…It’s kinda unnecessary and somewhat unsafe.” 

Ummmmmm… OK… So…

This may be hard to believe, but…

NyQuil Chicken is not a trend.

PEOPLE (as in multiple persons) are NOT cooking with cough syrup. 

Turns out a person – one person – posted a video back in 2017. Yes, he’s sautéing chicken breasts in NyQuil (the green kind which, seriously, tastes so much worse than the red kind)…

…but it’s clearly a joke. How do I know? 

Well, there’s the bit when he says, “Usually I use, y’know, four- thirds of the bottle.”  

Or the bit where he says, “You’re gonna want to let it sit there and sizzle for, y’know, about 5 to 30 minutes.”  

And the bit where he lifts the NyQuil-infused chicken breast from the pan, holds it close to the camera, and says, “What you’re looking for is that blue color right there.” 

And finally the kicker: After the cooking is complete, he pours the remaining NyQuil – complete with a big glob of chicken fat – back into the NyQuil bottle for reuse. 

This guy is not encouraging you to “cook chicken in NyQuil.”

He’s encouraging you to laugh. 

I know. TikTok idiots have encouraged people to eat laundry pods, suffocate themselves for the “buzz,”and munch enough Benadryl to hallucinate. 

Those are dangerous and dumb ideas that took hold on social media. Lots of photos and videos of fools engaging in those social media challenges. 

But NyQuil chicken? Not so much. 

I challenge you to find me a video of a slobbering teen tearing into a piece of NyQuil chicken. Show me someone who took up the challenge. 

I bet you can’t. 

Reporters from TechCrunch tried and couldn’t. Here’s some wise counsel from their article on the subject… 

“It’s about time that we learn the difference between what’s a viral trend and what’s just one person posting a meme that goes viral…To be clear: Cooking food in NyQuil is a very bad idea. But we don’t have any actual evidence to support that kids are doing this.” 

Amen, TechCrunch. 

It bears repeating: “Cooking food in NyQuil is a very bad idea.” 

It’s much tastier – and healthier – to poach chicken in Pepto Bismol. 


The FDA got one thing right in its consumer alert. They said, “…social media trends can lead to real, sometimes irreversible, damage.” 

Amen, FDA. 

There are so many REAL social media trends. 


❌ People using AI to scrape your social profile, pluck info about you, and send you fake-personalized messages. 

❌ Pitchy-proddies sending you “buy-my-stuff” messages the minute you accept their connection requests. 

❌ Fake engagers who randomly click “like” on thousands of social posts in hopes the author (or authentic commenters) will notice and connect with them. 

Maybe the government can issue an alert about these three trends (and so many other dangerous ones I didn’t mention). 

But don’t hold your breath. 



That’s very dangerous and stupid. 

One last thing — the most important thing…

You don’t have to pitch and prod and say “buy my stuff” the minute you connect with people on social media.  

Those friends and followers on social media? Most are not ready, willing or able to buy…yet. But they may be willing to buy down the road. 

I call that “marketing to the maybes.” 

And the best marketers know how to do that authentically and effectively. 

How do YOU market to the maybes authentically and effectively? 

That’s what I’ll cover
in a a free workshop
I’m hosting tomorrow: 

✓ What: How to Market to the Maybes to Attract More and Better Prospects and Inspire Them to Buy

✓ When: Friday, September 23, 12 p.m. EDT, 11 a.m. CDT

✓ Where: Zoom. Click the button below to register.

Until then…

Bon appetit.

p.s. Coaches, consultants and other business leaders turn to me to power-up their stories because most dish out the same old boring, "blah, blah, blah" content, turn off prospects and then feel frustrated and stuck. So I help them transform content from boring to brilliant, turn the marketing process from frustrating to fun, and convert results from pitiful to profitable. Bottom line, you can fire up prospects and inspire them to hire you with story-powered content that's simple to create. I'll show you how. Whenever you're ready, here are several ways I can help you land more clients without pitching and prodding:

1) Connect with me on LinkedIn and Facebook and (if not subscribed already) join our email list.

2) Watch the free, 7-minute Micro-Training: “The 3 Most Important Storytelling Keys to Captivate Prospects and Inspire Them to Act -- Without Pitching and Prodding.”

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Tom Ruwitch

Tom Ruwitch is the founder and CEO of Story Power Marketing. For more than 30 years, he has helped businesses grow by delivering powerful stories using a variety of different media.