As the month of March enters its last week, people around the world go on a prank-planning spree to surprise their friends, colleagues and family. Yes, the entire world comes together to pull of hoaxes and tricks in jest on April Fool’s Day which falls on April 1 every year. Beyond age and geographical barrier, this is probably as popular as New Year celebrations and is actually wittier than mundane celebrations.
But if you think it’s just people who dupe their friends, you are highly mistaken. April Fool’s Day is an even bigger hit in the big corporate world and many companies have teased and tickled the emotions of their customers only to later reveal that it was nothing but just a prank.
So, as we celebrate this day of ‘fooling’ here are 10 best corporate pranks of all-time.
T-Mobile’s Binging Headgear
Owing to time constraints, watching and re-watching favourite TV shows has become quite a problem. It’s not always easy to binge while commuting to work. Taking full advantage of this weakness, T-Mobile made a promise of introducing a superb headgear only to reveal later that it was an April Fool’s Day prank. In 2016, the tech brand had apparently designed a hands-free device called “Binge on Up” which would have allowed the users to binge and be productive at the same time. Alas, a hoax!
Google’s Cardboard Plastic headset
VR glasses are one of the biggest tech gears people around the world are excited about. So, when a company like Google decided to introduce “the world’s first actual reality headset” many missed the pun. The plastic headset designed to work with an ordinary smartphone made VR technology, completely waterproof, and 360-degree audio promised to make real look even more real! Obviously, clear plastic headgear claimed to let you “notice what you do, see, and feel more than before”. Indeed one of best April Fools prank of 2016.
H&M’s Mark Zuckerberg Clothing Line
In 2016, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and clothing brand H&M got together to play one of the most bizarre pranks ever. They decided to troll the world with a unique collection, inspired by Zuckerberg’s dressing choice. Given the fact that he hardly opts for anything other than basic T-shirt and jeans, it was quite surprising. But as the website campaigned, “One less thing to think about in the morning”, it seemed quite Mark-like. The collection included a pair of blue jeans and 7 identical grey T-Shirts!
Galaxy BLADE edge: Samsung’s smart knife
If there could be smart watches and phones, then why not a smart knife, right? Describing every aspect of this Chef’s Edition special knife the tech giant went overboard. In 2015, through an elaborate blog post, the brand conceptualized the fake product and presented it to the world – it was just commendable. Many also suggested that the knife complimented the ‘edge’ design of the phone itself. However, the Sci-Fi knife that promised to retract the blade before cutting the skin was nothing but a prank.
YouTube’s Rickrolling prank
YouTube and Google probably have the longest history of quirkiest of pranks. But the video-sharing platform’s first prank in 2008 is probably the most cherished one. The website linked all the featured videos on its homepage to Rick Astley’s classic ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’, a 1987 music video. Yes, no matter what a person tried to play, only this particular song played, a prank commonly known as Rickrolling now. Their other hit pranks include that of 2009 flip-flop prank that turned things upside down on the website.
Hotels on Moon and Mars
It’s way before NASA decided to launch one-way trip to Mars. Yes, in 2009 Hotels.com and Expedia.com campaigned about hotels on Lunar and Martian soils. Hotel.com released an ad that said rooms starting at about $1,200, excluding travel cost, were available on the Moon. Taking the prank one step further, Expedia advertised hotels on Mars would start at $99! Of course, on April Fool’s Day, Mars was closer than Moon.
Virgin Cola’s blue can warning
Even before the 21st century, corporate companies played pranks and pulled it off brilliantly. In 1996, Virgin Cola campaigned that to ensure consumer safety, their metal cans would turn blue if the drink crossed the expiration date. The brand warned everyone not to buy blue cans. And coincidentally, Pepsi had then unveiled its newly designed bright blue cans. Perfect hoax, and perfect competitive campaign strategy.
Los Angeles’ Airport prank
Imagine descending from a plane and then realising that you have landed in a wrong city, like landing in Mumbai instead of Delhi. Yes, it would kick the living daylights out of someone. But this is exactly what happened in 1992 at LA airport. As soon as passengers started deplaning they noticed a banner that read, “welcome to Chicago”. The 85-foot-long yellow banner on the ground that spelled out in 20-foot-high red letters was hung just above the Hollywood Park race track and was visible to any arriving passenger. If you are among those who don’t remember dates, this prank could be quite shocking.
BBC’s smelling aroma prank
Even in the mid 60’s, April Fool’s Day pranks were quite popular. In 1965, BBC TV aired an interview with a professor who claimed that people could smell the things shown on TV. The London University professor called the technology “smell-o-vision.” He showed coffee beans and onions and asked people to report if they smelled the items and even advised viewers to be 6-feet away from the screen for the best experience. People fell for it and some even said the onion brought tears to their eyes!
Sveriges Television’s instant colour-TV
In 1962, Sveriges Television (SVT), the only television channel in Sweden announced that people would be able to view coloured images on black-and-white TV sets. Channel’s technical expert, Kjell Stensson, told viewers that they could experience the effect at home with the help of some accessible materials such as Nylon stalkings. The mesh, in this case – the Nylon material – would cause the light to bend in such a way that it would appear coloured!