KFC’s marketing team must’ve found a pile of money to burn, because the latest ad campaign by the chain involves launching a chicken sandwich into orbit. The mission is scheduled to begin June 21, when the chain’s new spicy Zinger will be strapped into a fancy space balloon and fired 80,000 feet into the stratosphere, where it will remain for “at least” four whole days, the New York Times reports.
The stunt is being done in partnership with a space-tech company called World View Enterprises, and it’s gimmicky, even for a master of the craft like KFC. The Zinger 1 space mission will be the first to use World View’s stratollite — a balloon that actually has potential for near-space tourist travel — but KFC is keeping itself busy with the space-traveling-sandwich shtick. The campaign uses phrases like “digestive systems are go,” there’s an absurdly named website with a countdown clock (yesweareactuallysendingachickensandwichto.space), and it’s teased the mission in a video where Rob Lowe, dressed as a space colonel, cribs from JFK’s famous “We choose to go to the moon” speech, and people yell things like “space sandwich!”
Also, once the sandwich is up there, KFC will film it with five high-definition cameras. According to the Times, there are also plans to drop a single coupon for someone to find on the ground, assuming a bird doesn’t snatch it up midair first.
Funny enough, space nerds are going to absolutely bury KFC for saying the Zinger is headed “to outer space.” Even at 80,000 feet in the sky, the sandwich still won’t reach the so-called Kármán line, which marks the conventional boundary at 330,000 feet. Four days is also a long stretch of time food preservation–wise, even if the stratosphere is a near-vacuum with temperatures around negative-80 degrees. As a result, KFC says it’s treating the buns and chicken with polyurethane and adding Freshin to the lettuce to “help preserve the aesthetic” of the Zinger.