This is your April Fools’ reminder: Don’t believe everything you read today. In recent years, big brands have really stepped up their practical joke game. This year’s pranks already started yesterday when Richard Branson announced Virgin American will start flying in and out of Branson, Missouri. It seemed like a pretty credible story, until you started reading the fine print. Branson was naming the company’s flagship plane for this location after its most notable former resident, Dolly Parton. Sounds like a great idea, but it was, alas, too good to be true.
This was only to be topped by John Green’s publishers announcing his newest book on Twitter, “Not in the Stars to Hold Our Destiny.” Green already took to Twitter today to clarify. “My American publisher and several of my international publishers fell for @PenguinTeenAus‘s April Fools Day joke,” he tweeted. Foiled again!
Also be very wary of these new SELFIE SHOES, everyone’s talking about today. They also sound a little fishy.
What other high-concept jokes have we fallen for over the years (and even today)? Oh, there are so many.
Google, The Great Stuffed Panda Search 2015
This AFD, Google Japan introduced a new product that’s basically a talking stuffed panda with “maximized cuteness” who searches for stuff online on your behalf. “With state of the art emotional and conversational intelligence, Google Panda changes the face of search. From the smallest child to the grandparent who’s never used a computer, anyone who can ask a question can own and love a Google Panda,” claims the company. Don’t fall for it, folks.
Samsung’s Smartphone Galaxy Blade Edge, 2015
It’s a chef’s knife, it’s a phone. It’s totally fake.
IKEA, a dog high chair, 2011
1. Pets are basically family members, and deserve a spot at the kitchen table. 2. IKEA just wants to offer us everything we could ever need for our home. Combine those things together, and you’ve got IKEA’s grand idea to mass-produce a doggie high chair, so Fluffy and Spot can chow down with you. Let’s be honest, though — if this were real, we’d buy one.
Hulu, or favorite fake TV shows, 2013
Do you ever wish you could watch an episode of Queen of Jordan? What about Ya Heard? With Perd? Dream of binging Inspector Space Time? In 2013 Hulu made all of our television dreams come true when they announced they were adding these fake shows from 30 Rock, Parks and Rec and Community to their roster. Now let’s talk about making these fake shows a reality.
American Eagle’s Skinny Skinny Jeans, 2013
Remember when we ALL fell for this? The brand released a video, in collab with College Humor, promoting a new pair of jeans you literally spray on. They were the ultimate skinny jeans and for a moment we didn’t know what the world had come to.
Starbucks Plenta and Micra, 2010
We’ve got Tall, Grande and Venti. When the Trenta drink size (31oz) was rolled out, we all shook our heads as its ridiculous size — and then ordered one anyway. Well, in 2010 Starbucks gave us two more drink sizes to look forward to. If we wanted just a simple shot of coffee — literally, a shot — we could order the Micra at 2oz. But if we needed an actual Starbucks big gulp, that’s when the Plenta came in. At a whopping 128oz, you could basically swim in it. And yes, people still bought it.
WestJet, kids-free travel, 2012
OK, WestJet is actually a pretty great airline company, that’s always going out of their way to do awesome things. So upon hearing that they’re going to offer flights without kids on-board, you’ve got to know something’s up. In 2012, they made a pretty convincing video that explained you’d drop your kids off with your luggage, and they’d fly to your destination in the cargo hold. Not cool, not safe, but still pretty funny. We see what you did there, WestJet.
Taco Bell, The Taco Liberty Bell, 1996
It’s common for large companies to sponsor things, whether they be sports teams or landmarks or commercials. Well, in 1996, Taco Bell decided it didn’t just want to sponsor the Liberty Bell — they “bought” it instead. The company even took out ads in major newspapers, stating that they were trying to “reduce the nation’s debt” by making the purchase. The White House Press Secretary at the time, Mike McCurry, was in on the joke, and when asked about it in the briefing room, he confirmed it was indeed true. McCurry then explained that the Lincoln Memorial was being sold, too. Ford was making the purchase, and it was going to be renamed the Lincoln-Mercury Memorial. D’oh!
Burger King, the left-handed Whopper, 1998
Burger King, in an effort to further appeal to everyone, unveiled its “left-handed Whopper” on April 1st. The press release for the burger explained that, “the burger will contain the same ingredients, but that it was redesigned to fit more comfortably in the left hand.” It even detailed how the new burger with look, explaining that, “the new Left-Handed Whopper will have all the condiments rotated 180 degrees, thereby redistributing the weight of the sandwich so that the bulk of them skew to the left.” Customers flocked to the fast-food chain to try this out, and Burger King had to come clean the next day explaining that all burgers were made the same.
Netflix, Every Year
Netflix, our one true bae, knows how to get us good every single year. In 2014 they introduced two brand new Netlifx Originals — Rotisserie Chicken and Sizzling Bacon. The previous year they added oddly specific subcategories like, “Movies That Are in English, But Still Require Subtitles,” and “TV Shows Where Defiantly Crossed Arms Mean Business!” I can’t wait to see what they roll out this time.
In 2008, YouTube played one of the most epic April Fools’ day jokes ever. It’s a joke we’re still using today, actually. On April 1st, they re-directed every single video on its website to Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.” So that’s the reason you’ve had that song stuck in your head for eight years.