10 Most Hilarious April Fool’s Pranks (by Companies)

Let me ask you a quick question: What demographic comes up with the best April Fool’s pranks? College students? Internet pranksters? Independently funded joke-lovers?

You might be surprised to find that companies–including media outlets–comes up with some of the most creative and believable pranks of all. Here’s a list of the 10 most hilarious April Fool’s pranks by companies (as derived from this fabulous Museum of Hoaxes list):

10. Tesco’s Whistling Carrots

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In 2002, Tesco ran a fake newspaper ad announcing the ‘whistling carrot,’ a carrot genetically modified to contain airholes on each side that caused the carrot to whistle when it finished cooking.

9. Lebanon Circle Magik Co.’s Mummified Fairy

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Lebanon Circle Magik Co., a studio specializing in sculptures and curios, posted a picture of what appeared to be a mummified fairy on its homepage in 2007. The site explained that the fairy had been found by pedestrian in rural Derbyshire, leading to an explosion of online speculation about whether the fairy was real. Even after owner Dan Baines revealed the hoax, people continued to believe the fairy mummy was real.

8. Signal-Disrupting Bras

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In 1982, the Daily Mail—a frequent April Fool’s prankster—reported that 10,000 locally manufactured bras were interfering with radio and TV broadcasts through an extremely conductive copper underwire. The metal in the underwire was normally used in fire alarms; body heat and nylon made it produce signal-disrupting static electricity.

Quote
: The chief engineer of British Telecom, upon reading the article, immediately ordered that all his female laboratory employees disclose what type of bra they were wearing.

7. Sports Illustrated’s Sidd Finch

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Sports Illustrated took advantage of April Fool’s Day in 1985 by publishing an article about Sidd Finch, a new Mets’ recruit with a 168-mph pitch. Finch had purportedly learned the “art of the pitch” from a Tibetan master named Lama Milaraspa. Mets fans went wild–until they learned it was a hoax.


6. Richard Branson’s UFO

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A mysterious flying saucer landed in a field near London on March 31, 1989. The police arrived to inspect the scene and were shocked to see a human-like figure in a silver suit step out. The “alien” was actually Virgin’s Richard Branson, who had built a hot air balloon to resemble a UFO. He had intended to land in Hyde Park on April Fool’s Day, but the wind forced him to abandon the mission a day before April Fool’s.

5. Taco Bell Renames the Liberty Bell

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In 1996, Taco Bell announced that it was renaming the Liberty Bell to the Taco Liberty Bell. The phone lines at Philadelphia’s National Historic Park were clogged with citizen complaints at the unacceptable move. Taco Bell enjoyed the joke for a few hours, after which it revealed the claim as a fake.

4. Swedish Color TV

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In 1962, Sweden’s only TV channel broadcast in the news that viewers could get their black-and-white TV sets to display in full color by pulling a nylon stocking over the front of their TVs. Thousands of people tried it—until the gag was revealed as an April Fool’s hoax. Color TV finally came to Sweden 8 years later.

3. Dick Smith’s “Iceberg”

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Dick Smith Foods
a brand name in Australia. In 1978, owner and millionaire Dick Smith contracted a barge to tow an iceberg from Antarctica into the Sydney Harbor. Smith said he would cut ice cubes from the iceberg and sell them for 10 cents a piece. The public eagerly followed the iceberg’s progress until rain washed off the shaving cream and firefighting foam that made up the exterior of the iceberg, which was really a combination of plastic and firefighting foam.

2. Burger King’s Left-Handed Whopper

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Burger King ran a full-page ad in USA Today in 1998 unveiling the Left-Handed Whopper, a burger whose condiments were turned 180 degrees to benefit left-handed consumers. Burger King claimed that on the day of the joke, thousands of customers flocked to the chain to request the special Whoppers.

1. The BBC’s Flying Penguins

The BBC has a reputation for April Fool’s stunts, but last year’s (2008) was one of the best. The British news station announced that an Antarctica-based film crew had filmed Adelie penguins taking flight. The video clip became an Internet sensation (watch it to see why).

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Comments

  1. courtney benson's Gravatar Comment by courtney benson on March 31st, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    here’s #11: Sometime in the early 60′s one of the major networks covered a story on how Spaghetti was grown showing farmers on ladders picking spaghetti from special trees. Most people believed the story.

  2. jabi's Gravatar Comment by jabi on April 1st, 2009 at 1:33 am

    love the flying penguins

  3. James n's Gravatar Comment by James n on April 1st, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    It was the bbc who did the spaghetti hoax

  4. Michael's Gravatar Comment by Michael on April 1st, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    My vote goes to the penguins. Wow. But I think I laughed equally at the left-handed burger. I talk about how much I revere April Fools Day in my blog. It’s now a holiday for me.

  5. sanders's Gravatar Comment by sanders on April 2nd, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    you left out…crop circles…the loch ness monster…ufo’s…bigfoot…and jim cramer

  6. Tom Eastgard's Gravatar Comment by Tom Eastgard on April 3rd, 2009 at 11:14 am

    Here in Seattle, Evening Magazine did a story on a marshmallow farmer. Video shows marshmallow bushes with “newly ripened” marshmallows on them, “ready to pick”. According to the farmer, the recent cool spring weather was quite good for this years crop.

    See: http://www.king5.com/video/eveningmagazine-index.html?nvid=347970

  7. Google Money SYstem's Gravatar Comment by Google Money SYstem on April 3rd, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    I loved the flying penguins and the left handed whoppers….absolutely amazing.

    What’s great though is that many companies generate quite a profit from the buzz of these jokes.

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