Yes, we thought about trying to pull our own April Fool’s hoax on TFB, something related to Baby Boomers, travel, or both. But then we discovered a treasure trove of some great hoaxes, so we decided to share our favorites with you instead. These are classic corporate shenanigans perpetrated through the media. Enjoy!
On April 1, 1996, newspaper readers, including New York Times readers, discovered a full-page advertisement announcing that Taco Bell had purchased the Liberty Bell. Yes, the historic Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. It ran in magazines as well. The bell was henceforth to be known as the”Taco Liberty Bell.”
“While some may find this controversial,” the advertisement said, “we hope our move will prompt other corporations to take similar action to do their part to reduce the country’s debt.”
Some readers took this seriously and angrily called the home of the Liberty Bell in Philadephia to protest. Others spotted the joke right away and loved it. White House spokesperson Mike McCurry even played along, saying that the government also planned to sell the Lincoln Memorial to Ford Motor Company, which would rename it the “Lincoln-Mercury Memorial.”
On April 1, 1998, Burger King placed a full-page ad in USA Today announcing a new product: Left-Handed Whoppers! These burgers, specially designed for left-handed people, were supposed to be the same as regular Whoppers, but with “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.” Thousands of customers requested the new product, with some asking for a “right-handed” version instead. Some people are so gullible!