Executives at 130 major companies received a professionally designed package of information about an exciting new product: Total Home Remote Electricity. This technology, manufactured by Ottmar Industries of Switzerland, allowed electricity to be beamed wirelessly anywhere within a house. Simply plug one of the small "projectors" into a wall outlet, and a safe electrical "aura" would envelop the home. By attaching a converter to any appliance, the appliance would be able to receive power at any location within the aura, even outside on the roof. "Did you ever imagine making toast on your roof?" the promotional material asked.
Accompanying the ads was a letter from a company called Hoffman York Plc that claimed to be an information-gathering service. Executives were invited to phone the 1-800 number to learn how Hoffman York could obtain information about products that might pose a competitive threat. The material provided was offered as an example. Over 30 people called the number, including three high-level executives. Hoffman York was really an advertising agency. The ads were April Fool's Day publicity stunts.