May 19, 2024


Technological development

KFC’s Internet Escape Pod Was Ahead of Its Time


Photo:  Femail Online - YouTube (Other)

Photo: Femail Online – YouTube (Other)

Just like The Simpsons is often credited with predicting the future, I think KFC deserves some clairvoyant credit. The fried chicken fast food chain already understood five years ago that the state of the world would leave us all wanting to crawl into a pod and disappear long before we knew just how badly we needed to. Luckily, Twitter’s memory is long, and users recently started resurfacing the KFC promotional stunt for all of us to enjoy (and envy).

Back in 2017, KFC rolled out an actual $10,000 “digital escape pod.” As The Verge explains, the Internet Escape Pod was dome-shaped tent made of steel and stainless-steel mesh, a high-density foam, and enamel paint, weighing eight pounds total. The pod also featured a fried-chicken-drumstick-shaped door handle and a huge Colonel Sanders atop the dome, his long arms draped over the pod as if to protect those inside it. Thrillist noted at the time that the dome would comfortably fit four adults and a bucket of KFC chicken. But of course, the most important feature of all is that the dome was designed as a Faraday cage, which blocks out wireless signals, thus allowing you to escape the internet (and by extension, the world) for a little while.

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Recently Twitter user @badboygargar tweeted, “What if we kissed inside the colonel sanders tent” accompanied by an image of the KFC Internet Escape Pod, thrusting the $10,000 gimmick back into the spotlight after five years of dormancy. The Twitterverse was quick to respond with hundreds of thousands of likes and retweets, and even KFC’s official Twitter account responded, “What happens in the tent, stays in the tent.”

Knowing what we know about Colonel Sanders, I’m not sure how many people would truly be comforted by a giant inescapable hug from him. Still, setting aside (though you really shouldn’t) the colonel’s misogynistic and likely racist tendencies, the function of the pod remains a necessity.

In a time when the internet has become a barrage of bad, sad, and infuriating news, the ability to disconnect from it all has become even more valuable since 2017. Although KFC could not have predicted a global pandemic or any of the other disasters that have befallen its customer base since 2017, I can’t help but tip my hat to whichever member of the brand’s marketing team realized that the internet could be an overwhelming place and it likely wasn’t going to get any better—so we might as well eat some fried chicken in peace. (KFC declined to comment for this story.)

Though it’s unlikely KFC will be bringing back the escape pod any time soon, today is Amazon Prime Day, and you can find a number of discounted Faraday pouches and bags to help you disconnect for a while. Sure, there won’t be any chicken thrown in, but it’s close enough.


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