Thursday, March 15, 2007
April Fools' Day - Agreements and Announcements!
Here, I have stated some agreements and announcements that sent a wave of uproarious protests and anger through the people and intellectuals only to know that they were actually caught by the infamous April Fools' Day spoofs.

- Many readers could not benefit from the sudden price change of the Boston Morning Globe in 1915 to half its cost on April Fool's Day. The management was as much surprised as the readers to note the price printed on the front page as 'one cent' instead of 'two cents per copy'. Well, 60,000 copies had already been sold at the regular price by then. Later, it was found to be the mischief of a production worker who had lowered the cost at the last minute.

- In 1992, the London Times reported that Belgium is going to be dissolved. Its Dutch-speaking north would join the Netherlands and the French-speaking south would join France. The article created such an uproar that the British foreign office minister Tristan Garel-Jones almost went on a TV interview to discuss it and the Belgian embassy received numerous calls from journalists and expatriate Belgians making enquiries about the news. Later, a rival paper later criticized Times for the prank and said that it had hurt the feelings of Belgians.

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- In 1996, citizens of Philadelphia were outraged at the announcement made by the Taco Bell Corporation that it had bought the Liberty Bell from the government and renaming as Taco Liberty Bell. The mass hysterics could only be controlled a few hours later when it was revealed to be a practical joke. However, the witty White House press secretary Mike McCurry only answered to the question about the sale that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold and was being renamed as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.

- Guinness played a similar trick in 1998 by issuing a press release that it had made an agreement with the Old Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England to be the official beer sponsor of the Observatory's millennium celebration. In exchange, the Greenwich Mean Time would be renamed as Guinness Mean Time until the end of 1999. The Financial Times also fell in for the joke and criticized the move.

- In 1999, a Canadian radio station cashed the idea of the Y2K threat by announcing that CD players would not be able to read the old music discs in 2000 and hence, people would have to buy hologram stickers worth $2 apiece that would enable them to read the old-format discs. The technology has been recently discovered. Warner Music and Universal Music Group were in on the joke. However, listeners were furious at the stated costs for something as cheap as stickers and demanded that the stickers should be given away for free. The outrage did not subsided easily, even after the radio station revealed that it was just a joke.



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posted by Gerry at Thursday, March 15, 2007 ¤ Permalink ¤