10 April Fools' Day Gags You May Have Missed
Vicki Santillano | DivineCaroline
March 31, 2011
A Whopper for Lefties, 1998
Burger King came out with a full-page ad in USA Today celebrating its latest menu addition: a Whopper with condiments that had been rotated 180 degrees specifically for left-handed burger enthusiasts. Seems ridiculous now, but enough people fell for it—requesting both the “Left-Handed Whopper” and the “old version”—that BK had to issue a follow-up press release explaining the prank.
Google’s MentalPlex, 2000
Google introduced MentalPlex, a search engine that supposedly read people’s minds to find out what they were searching for. By staring into the swirling circle of colors on the Web page and concentrating really hard, you could allegedly eliminate the need to type (and reduce the possibility of carpal tunnel syndrome, to boot). It even covered privacy violations in its FAQ section: “While MentalPlex does have the potential of probing your deepest darkest secrets and desires, this information is only used in aggregate and rarely sold to advertisers unless they ask very, very nicely.”
A Different Kind of Economic Stimulus, 2008
NPR, like the BBC, is no stranger to April Fools’ Day pranks: each year it does something different. In 1983, it reported on fondue hot springs. In 1992, it announced that Nixon was running for president again. And in 2008, Marketplace’s Rico Gagliano reported on the IRS’s new system of sending consumer products in lieu of rebate checks to ensure economic stimulus. According to “Debt-to-Purchase Ratio Assessor” for the IRS, Beverly Jaworsky, “We plug in Social Security numbers into our database, we find where the people live, and we send them something that would be suitable to their lifestyle.” Lest listeners flood NPR phone lines in shock and disgust, host Kai Ryssdal said at the end of the story, “Oh, c’mon, check your calendars, everybody.”
I can’t wait to find out what newspapers, radios, and TV programs have in store for us this year. But even after so many instances of public April Fools’ Day pranks, there’s still bound to be a bunch of people who’ll get tricked this year, whether by the media or by their coworkers. After all, everybody plays the fool; there’s no exception to the rule. If it happens to you, just laugh it off—and then make a detailed revenge list for next year.
This article was originally published on DivineCaroline.com.