April Fools: Ultimate Company Pranks

April 1 has been a prank-filled day for years, so don’t trust anyone or anything today. (Google got in on the fun early when they revealed a secret “Pacman” level on Google Maps yesterday. We also heard that Buffalo Wild Wings is cooking something up.) But here’s something you can trust: a list of our favorite pranks, pulled off by companies in the last twenty years. Below, you’ll find five outrageous things announced by companies on April Fools’ Day.


Taco Liberty Bell – 1996

In April of 1996, Taco Bell ran one of the most successful advertising campaigns ever. They took out ads in several major newspapers, including USA Today & The Washington Post, announced their purchase of the Liberty photo tacobelllogo2copy.jpg Bell in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The ad said, “In an effort to help the national debt, Taco Bell is pleased to announce that we have agreed to purchase the Liberty Bell, one of our country’s most historic treasures. It will now be called the “Taco Liberty Bell” and will still be accessible to the American public for viewing. While some may find this controversial, we hope our move will prompt other corporations to take similar action to do their part to reduce the country’s debt.” The National Park Service in Philadelphia was bombarded with angry callers who were upset that one of America’s national treasures had been sold to a fast-food chain. Shortly after the hoax was revealed, the US Government got in on the joke and announced that, as part of its ongoing privatization efforts, “the Ford Motor Co. is joining today in an effort to refurbish the Lincoln Memorial. It will be [called] the Lincoln-Mercury Memorial.” The government also mentioned that it was impossible for them to sell the Liberty Bell- the iconic treasure is owned by the City of Philadelphia. Taco Bell, who spent only $300,000 on the hoax, received over $25 million in publicity.


Sony Power Food – 2014

Sony, the Japanese electronics corporation, announced their new line of “Sony Power Food” on April 1, 2014. The company said in their press release that, “the same types of fuel you use to power yourself- cake, cereal and energy bars- can be used to power your favorite electronics without hassle.” Sony’s three “new” Power Food products inlcuded Cake Mix, which came in three delicious flavors (Vanilla, Classic Chocolate and Red Velvet), Crunchy Loops Cereal, which used the same simple sugars that are broken down into energy, providing exciting flavors to get you going in the morning, and Protein Energy Bars, which contained a daily serving of fiber, protein, and charged lithium so you could plug in, chow down, and recharge to take on the day. Sony also mentioned that the new products were available beginning the same day at Sony Stores and grocery stores around the nation.


Starbucks Micra & Plenta Cups – 2010

Starbucks fooled us all in 2010 when they announced their new cup sizes- Micra & Plenta. Micra, which Starbucks described as a 2oz “morsel of goodness”, would become available in the fall of 2010, along with their new Plenta size, which rang in at a whopping 128oz. Starbucks even went as far as placing a bogus comment in their April 1 blog post. “‘Whether customers are looking for a large or small size, the Plenta and the Micra satisfy all U.S. and Canada customers’ needs for more and less coffee,’ said Hugh Mungis, Starbucks VP of Volume. ‘Our size selection is now plentiful.'” The Seattle-based company also suggested several subsequent uses for their Plenta & Micra cups. For the Plenta, Starbucks suggested a rain hat, a popcorn receptacle, & a perennial planter, among other things. They noted that the Micra also serves as a paper clip holder, a milk dish for kittens, & a boiled egg cup.


Burger King’s Left-Handed Whopper – 1998

For Aprils Fool’s Day in 1998, Burger King appealed to the left-handers of America with their new “Left-Handed Whopper.” The then-Miami-based chain claimed that they’d rotated the Whopper’s condiments 180-degrees to “suit the left-handed burger connoisseur.” The next day, eager southpaws hurried into Burger King restaurants across the nation to get the new burger, but they had to wait behind the righties, who had to make sure they got the “right” burger. Apparently, no one remembered that burgers are, um… a circle?


Scope Bacon Mouthwash – 2013

In 2013, Scope Mouthwash let down millions of pig-loving, bacon-consuming fans when they revealed that their Bacon Mouthwash wasn’t real. The mouthwash brand, owned by Procter & Gamble, announced the sizzling mouthwash in a commercial in late March of 2013. On April 1, when P&G revealed the truth about the Bacon Mouthwash, thousands complained and cursed the company for starting their April Fools’ joke before April 1. Scope even created a special website, one that’s still in operation, for the fake mouthwash flavor. In Scope’s Bacon FAQ, Scope claims that “no pigs [were] harmed during the making of Scope Bacon” and that the mouthwash is made of “perfectly healthy synthetic [bacon] flavoring.”

(Sources: TIME, Hoaxes, NBC, Starbucks, Sony, Wikipedia, AdAge, CNBC)

Images Credit: Photobucket, Revision3, AppStorm, Time, Scope)

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