Since the beginning of print and media, there have always been hoaxes, parodies and jokes. Social media is no different and in fact has increased the amount of people who take the opportunity to fool others. Fortunately, there have been some whoppers – some of which come from the big companies themselves. Here are some of our favourites.
A way for dogs to eat with people you say, that’s not based upon feeding them sneaky snacks underneath the table? Fortunately, the Ikea doggy highchair seems like the perfect solution. In marketing and hoax terms, this dog highchair is the faultless way to take advantage of the interest people have in animals doing human things – essentially the main point of YouTube – and using it for their own gains. Marketing or not it’s a great joke product that had people guessing whether it was real or not.
Food giant Burger King had one of the greatest inventions since Ned Flanders Leftorium in The Simpsons – a left handed burger. The company sent a press release to that effect over the Internet in 1998 and included details for a bun burger with all its contents rotated by 180 degrees. Sadly, it wasn’t true and to this very day left handed people are still enjoying burgers 43% less than right handed folk – science fiction; not scientific fact.
Moldova’s greatest rising star was linked to Arsenal and was expected to be sold for millions. The Times followed the story as did a number of other large papers, who used The Times’ piece and Mugdub’s Wikipedia profile among other things to garner information for numerous national articles. Sadly, Mugduv only existed on Wikipedia and in the badly researched articles in the papers – proof of the poor standards of journalism nowadays.
Wendi Deng Murdoch
Sometimes even Twitter gets it wrong. A Mrs Murdoch account thought to be that of wife of generous, fun-loving rapscallion Rupert, was verified by Twitter. The account really showcased some wit and had some fantastic tweets – something that surprised many. Unfortunately, it was a fake account and wrongly verified by the micro blogging site – that said it offered some kicks and giggles at famous people’s expense.
This one is a long time before the arrival of social media and like all great hoaxes preyed on people’s vulnerability and ignorance. BBC’s Panorama April Fool’s Day hoax showed footage of an Italian family ‘harvesting’ spaghetti from spaghetti trees in Italy for use over the rest of the year. As most people didn’t eat the food at the time, they know no better and took it as fact. However, the hoax is seen as the pinnacle of pranks in the media and still one of the most recalled April fool’s jokes ever.