Screenshot from Procter & Gamble's April Fool's Scope Bacon Mouthwash webpage (© Procter & Gamble)
Some Americans take their bacon very seriously. 

That's a lesson Procter & Gamble (PG) learned the hard way after an April Fool's prank went awry. The gist of the joke was that the consumer-products giant was planning a new product called "Scope Bacon," a mouthwash boasting smoked-meat flavor.

On its Facebook page, Scope even included mock-ups of an advertising campaign, including taglines such as "Taste breakfast while washing it away" and "Indulge your meat tooth."

But Procter & Gamble made two big missteps with its gag. 

First, it started the joke on March 28, not exactly the most obvious day for an April Fool's Day prank, given that the tradition is, well, always observed on April 1. 

Second, the product sizzled with that slice of consumers who gobble up bacon-inspired products. After all, given that smoked-meat fans can clean their teeth with bacon-flavored floss, why not bacon mouthwash?

"You know, it doesn't get any better than this," one fan wrote on Facebook about Scope Bacon. The fan added, "The Bacon cheese cake I made for Easter comes pretty close though."

For sure, many people responded with comments such as "Gross!" But a sizable number expressed their desire to try the product. Only a few seemed to cotton on to the idea that Scope was playing a prank. 

Some consumers started looking for the product in store aisles, while others hoped for coupons to buy it on sale, reports Advertising Age.

Consumers were so confused that Scope posted an update to its Facebook page on April 1 to clarify that the product "isn't real. Not yet!"

That's going over about as well as fat-free bacon. "I really wanted a sample," wrote one Scope fan on its Facebook page.

"The point of an April Fool's joke should take place on the day, not a week leading up with a full blown marketing campaign," wrote another Facebook fan. "Obviously people were wanting the product, you have a demo for it. Make it."

Aimee Picchi owns shares of P&G but hasn't traded them in at least 12 months. Follow her on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.

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