Top 10 consumer April Fool’s Jokes of all time (part 1)
Ranked totally subjectively by a formula involving believability, ingeniousness, and a very broad interpretation of what “consumer related” means, here's our countdown of 10 Consumer April Fool's Jokes worth remembering, for better or worse:
10. Virgin Cola Blue Cans – Technology: it’s a wonderful thing. In 1996, Virgin Cola announced that its cans would be made from a special material that would unequivocally let customers know when its “sell-by” date had come and gone. After that magical date, ingredients in the cola would react with the new metal in the can, causing the can to turn bright blue. You know, the bright blue you’d see on, say, a Pepsi can. Virgin warned consumers to avoid purchasing all blue cans for fear of drinking old spoiled cola.
9. Esporta's "FatSox" For Fatties – Are you one of those people who complains to their mates about how difficult it is to lose weight, as in, “I don’t get it. I drink those SlimFast shakes after every meal, and I haven’t lost an ounce!”? If so, then you would have loved Fat Sox. The Daily Mail in 2000 announced that Esporta Health Clubs had invented socks that helped people lose weight. Fat Sox were made of a revolutionary nylon polymer called FloraAstraTetrazine that could draw fat out of the body through sweat. Invented by an American, the socks worked by drawing excess lipid from the body once a person’s body heat rose and blood vessels began to dilate. After a good foot sweat, dieters could remove the socks and wash all that pesky fat away in the laundry.
8. Freewheelz Free Cars – Was there something about the year 2000 that made everyone think that all the old rules of capitalism were obsolete? That the world could indeed be run on venture capital and caffeine? The April 2000 issue of Esquire magazine profiled a company called Freewheelz. Its business plan was to provide drivers with free cars, as long as they agreed to large advertisements being placed on the outside of the car and audio commercials streaming from the radio. Qualification was a brutal process, involving a 600-question survey, submittal of tax returns, video store rental receipts , and a stool sample. Freewheelz was scheduled to roll on April 1, and the prank whooshed right over the heads of a number of real Internet start-up execs with similar business plans. Larry Butler of Freecar later confessed to having cried upon reading the story.
7. Australia Switches to Metric Time – And speaking of time-telling, Australian news took advantage of the worldwide wave of conversion to the metric system in 1975 to announce on This Day Tonight that the country would be converting to “metric time.” After the switch, there would be 100 seconds per minute, 100 minutes per hour, and 20-hour days. The newscast even included an interview with Deputy Premier Des Corcoran, who gave his wholehearted approval to the project. And to top it off, the Adelaide Town Hall was shown proudly bearing its new 10-hour metric clock face.
6. Internet Spring Cleaning – Ah, those early years of the Information Superhighway. We were all so young, so innocent, so … gullible. In 1997 what we would now call a viral email went out to the e-universe announcing that the Internet would be shut down for cleaning for twenty-four hours from March 31 till April 2. The network, the email said, was full of “electric flotsam and jetsam” that had accumulated since so many people were now using the Internet. Dead emails and inactive sites would be flushed from the system with the help of Internet-crawling robots situated strategically throughout the world. Users were warned to disconnect devices from the Internet, due to the danger of catching bits of dust that would be blown out of the system during cleaning.
(To be continued...)