Some of the most hilarious practical jokes are pranks pulled by worthy sources. Fake news headlines or marketing stunts that got into the headlines are highlighted below.
2007 CNet's Fake Tech News Headlines
Many news sites take advantage of All Fools day and create fake news headlines, or like what CNet did in 2007, ran ridiculous headlines all across their home page. Excerpts include titles such as: "Wikipedia Founder's Bold Experiment", "Dalai Lama Exiled to Second Life", "U.N. panel downplays warming of blogosphere", "U.S. government outlaws Windows Vista", "Google arrested at U.S.-Mexico border", "What you need to know about tasers... and how to use one on your boss" and many more. If you clicked on any of the links, it took you to a page that said "Gotcha!, Click here to go to today's real news home page. Clever guys!!! I love geek humor. Here's the link to CNet's April 1, 2007 Fake Headlines. (minus formatting) -- You'll get the point and a chuckle
Tesco's Whistling Carrot
In 2002, the British supermarket chain Tesco pulled off one of their best funny pranks. They advertised that they had successfully created a "whistling carrot." They claimed the vegetable had been genetically modified to include airholes that would cause it to whistle to signal when the vegetable was boiled to perfection, like a tea kettle when it reaches full boil. Interesting?
Jump, You'll Float
British astronomer Patrick Moore pulled a hoaxe on his audience back in 1976 when he explained to his audience that there would be some movement between two planets that affects the upward gravitational pull and makes people lighter. He invited his listenters to jump up at precisely 9:47 a.m. to feel the effects of a "strange floating sensation" for a moment. Amazingly, he received quite a few calls stating the experiment worked!
Mini Cooper's Vertical Parking Locator
The new breakthrough car-maker Mini placed a number of ads in several Australian newspapers in 2003 promoting the new Mini Cooper. They promised to end parking hassles and introduced it's new space-saving technology: "vertical parking locator" (VPL) and touted the new development of vertical parking lots on the sides of buildings.
The press release stated:
The world-first VPL allows MINI Coopers to be parked vertically against walls, thus saving substantial parking space. ASC+T-backed VPL gives MINIs sufficient traction to attain and maintain an erect parking position and to cling securely to the side of the designated building. All-but seamless in operation, VPL makes its presence felt via a subtle frisson of vibration as the traction system is activated. A warning jingle recorded by a string quartet in the key of G also sounds.
Ha! Being an 2003 Mini Owner, I can attest, you can park "almost" anywhere you want. I love their funny advertising pranks - or are they?
2009 - Expedia Flight to Mars!
A Great Fake Headline promoted on the home page of Expedia.com - Expedia flight to Mars! They touted " Take advantage of Expedia's No Booking Fees promotion save big money" - like $3,000,000,000,000. That's right! Fly to Mars from only $99. Well, not really. April Fool to you. Check out Expedia's No Interplanetary Booking Fees promotion that includes a youtube video, links to hotels, and a list of activities, all the info you need to book your flight and enjoy your stay. Hats off to you Expedia for this fine practical joke!
Lawn-Mower Racing: A Sport is Born
Gold Eagle Co turned a April Fool's marketing stunt into a kick-grass media event that just keeps on going.
It started in 1992, when Gold Eagle announced its endeavors via national press releases. Lawn-mower racing was billed as a genuine motor-sport series culminating in two national races. Press releases focused on the offbeat nature of the sport, calling it “The Nation’s Fastest Mowing Sport.” Gold Eagle sanctioned it the U.S. Lawn Mower Racing Association (USLMRA) and people got excited. Amazingly, being only a marketing stunt, the folk at Gold Eagle keep asking, when will this thing run its course? And "..with mowmentum like this, who knows where the sport will end up? After all, if the trampoline and badmiton qualify as Olympic sports, lawn-mower racing isn't very far behind" says Bruce Kaufman, the self-proclaimed
Mr. Mow-It-All and current president of the USLMRA
Sweden's Instant Color TV Hoax
In 1962, Sweden had one television channel and it broadcasted only in black and white. As an April Fools joke Kjell Stensson, the TV station's technical expert, announced that viewers could convert their TV sets from black and white to color by covering the screen with nylon stockings.
He explained that they had recently discovered that a fine-meshed screen placed in front of a black-and-white television screen would cause the light to bend in such a way that it would appear as if the image was in color.
It was also explained that the viewer would need to be a certain distance away from the screen and it might be necessary to move your head back and forth in order to align the color spectrum. Then, he demonstrated how to apply the nylon stockings by pulling it over the screen. To make his claim even more
believable he recommended the new lighter denier weight stocking vs. the thick 40 denier which caused the picture to go dark. Back then, the screens were small so a nylon stockings
would actually fit over the screens.
Thousands of people gave it a try to much dismay
Ivar's Billboards - First Discovery
The salvage crew of Prudhoe Bay make the first discovery of Ivar's underwater billboards - Ivars has such funny ads - are they real? Most cases yes - real advertising. I put these under Fake Headlines because, well, they deserve it -- LOLs to them and their creativity department.
Smell-o-vision: In 1965, the BBC played an April Fool's Joke - the network aired an interview with a man who claimed that viewers at home could experience aromas produced in a TV studio. They went on to demonstrate by cutting onions and brewing coffee, then had "viewers" call in with claims they could smell these scents, thus convincing the viewers it was true
1860 Tower of London - Lion Washing
A popular prank in London: In 1860 numerous people throughout London received an invitation saying "Tower of London -- Admit Bearer and Friend to view the annual ceremony of Washing the White Lions on Sunday, April 1, 1860. Admittance only at the White Gate. It is particularly requested that no gratuities be given to the wardens or attendants." By noon, crowds began to gather but of course, lions hadn't been kept in the tower for quite some time, specifically white ones. Apparently, this prank had been pulled numerous times starting as far back as 1698.
1999 Y2k CD Bug
In 1999, Warner Music and Universal Music Group along with a popular Canadian radio station informed it's listeners that the Y2K bug would affect all CD players making music discs created prior to 2000 unreadable. Fortunately, a Hologram sticker was available to enable the old-format discs to continue working. The stickers could be purchased for $2 and immediately the phones became jammed both at the record companies and radio station, and everyone was demanding these stickers for free! The calls continued even after the radio station announced it was a joke.
1981 Michigan Shark Study
A local news paper in Roscommon Michigan reported that several northern Michigan lakes had been selected for "an in-depth study into the breeding and habits of several species of fresh-water sharks" It was being reported that some 2,000 sharks were released into the lakes to include hammerheads, blue and great whites sharks to study to see if they survive the bitter cold climate of this region. The article mentioned that County officials protested the experiment but the complaints were ignored. It was also reported that that fishermen were not allowed to catch the sharks. The Herald-News received many letters from alarmed readers... go figure.
Bill Gates Dead:
2003 "Bill Gates is dead, shot by a lone gunman at a charity event in Los Angeles". After three South Korean networks broadcast the story on local TV, the ensuing panic triggered a 1.5 percent drop in the Seoul stock exchange — a value loss of $3 billion. Just another Windows-related crash. HA! Source: http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/magazine/16-04/st_best
Leaked iPhone Architecture
Calling all geeks - iPhone's OSX architecture has been leaked! One of the best April Fool jokes. Left to the smark guys, a subtle fake by Charles Ying, a former software architect with Openwave, who is now working elsewhare, uploaded a file and posted it on Digg as a test. It was noticed. And to further add credence to the prak, a few former Apple engineers saw it and helped move the joke on. To the trained eye, hints were intelligently planted and Charles was kind enough to reveal all the mysteries of the prank. Read Charles Ying's blog for the details