The shocking (and highly ludicrous) news over the weekend that Mark Zuckerberg was going to shut down Facebook because it was causing him too much “stress” was only the latest in a long line of corporation-related hoaxes that have long amused, annoyed and bedeviled the public.
Some hoaxes are perpetrated by the companies themselves; while others are done by members of the public upon corporations.
The massive reach of the internet will likely lead to an acceleration of hoaxes in the coming years.
In the spirit of April Fools Day (which is actually almost three months away), IB Times has selected (at random) a Top Ten List of similar hoaxes.
* On April Fools Day 1998, the esteemed Massachusetts Institute of Technology said it would be acquired by the Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) for $6.9-billion. MIT said its business school would be renamed Scrooge McDuck School of Management; while other new schools would include the School of Imagineering and the Donald Duck Department of Linguistics.
A press release from MIT even showed the university’s legendary dome adorned with a pair of Mickey Mouse ears.
*On April Fools Day in 2009, Expedia Inc. (Nasdaq: EXPE) advertised $99 one-way flights to Mars – promising a savings of $3-trillion (and no booking fee)
*On April Fools Day in 1996, The New York Times published a full-page advertisement declaring that the Taco Bell fast food franchise had bought the Liberty Bell (the colonial-era symbol of American independence in Philadelphia) and that it would be renamed the Taco Liberty Bell.
Taco Bell even wrote in the ad that while some may find this controversial, we hope our move will prompt other corporations to take similar action to do their part to reduce the country's debt.
*On April Fools Day in 1998, Burger King restaurants said it had come up with a brand new and exciting product: left-handed whoppers, specially designed for southpaw meat-eaters.
The company explained in the ad that it would have all condiments rotated 180 degrees, thereby redistributing the weight of the sandwich so that the bulk of the condiments will skew to the left, thereby reducing the amount of lettuce and other toppings from spilling out the right side of the burger.
Right-handed people demanded a “right-handed” version of the tasty burger.
*In 2008, German carmaker Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, better known as BMW, advertised something called the Toot and Calm Horn (T.C.H.) system, a sound that was designed to sooth drivers rather than make them agitated and upset like horns normally do.
*Another time, BMW announced that it had developed a front windshield (Insect Deflector Screen) that would allow insects to cleanly bounce off when hit, rather than face a horrid and messy death on the glass. (BMW has a long history of issuing hoax press releases).
*Sir Richard Branson’s health club chain, Virgin Active, said it planned to open a gym in Britain exclusively for animals, as a way of combating the rising problem of pet obesity in the UK.
*Pasante, the British condom-maker, said it was produced a condom for dogs, in order to ease the problem of an overpopulation of canines in the U.K.
*In 1996, America Online (NYSE: AOL) reported that life was found on Jupiter and that the U.S. government was trying to cover up its existence.
*In 2009, an Australian newspaper said that Mekong Industries, a Chinese company, proposed to purchase the august Melbourne Cricket Grounds.
The story elicited angry responses from readers – who apparently missed that someone named April Fulton was the spokesperson cited in the article.