The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Advertising
Vitamin Donuts — Vitamin Donuts are a notorious case in the history of misleading advertising. In 1941, the Doughnut Corporation of America came out with these "Vitamin Donuts," hoping the product would earn a seal of approval from the Nutrition Division of the War Food Administration. The name was justified, so the Doughnut Corporation believed, because the donuts were made with flour fortified with thiamine (Vitamin B1) which, so the marketing posters promised, would provide "PEP and VIGOR." However, the War Food Administration didn't buy this argument and told the company that the name was… Continue…
Posted: Sat Dec 06, 2014.   Comments (0)

Shark in Lake Ontario — A video released last week showing a group of fishermen having an encounter with a shark in Lake Ontario has proven to be a hoax. The video was created by a company called Bell Media using a prosthetic model shark, as the company has admitted in a recent press release. It was "the first step of a multi-stage marketing campaign" to promote the Discovery Channel's Shark Week. Nissan is also involved in the hoax, since they're the ones sponsoring Shark Week. Apparently Nissan will have…
Posted: Thu Jul 17, 2014.   Comments (0)

“Plan for a healthy retirement” — Spoof ads showing a doctor handing a gun to an elderly woman, beneath the headline, "Plan for a healthy retirement," have been appearing at bus shelters throughout the UK. Clear Channel, the firm responsible for bus shelter ads, has been reporting them to the police. A Clear Channel representative speculated that the ads are part of a movement called "brandalism" which "subverts advertising billboards to make political and social points." [The Oxford Times]
Posted: Tue May 13, 2014.   Comments (0)

The Brighter Moon Project — Foreo, a cosmetics company, has announced an initiative to brighten the moon. It argues that this will provide the world with a huge savings in money spent on lights at night. And by reducing nighttime energy consumption, it will also be good for the environment. So how exactly does Foreo intend to brighten the moon? It kind of glosses over that detail, but the basic idea will be to make the surface of the moon more reflective, so that it will reflect more of the sun's light. Perhaps this could be done by painting sections of the moon, or by smoothing out the lunar surface. Who… Continue…
Posted: Mon Apr 21, 2014.   Comments (1)


Small or Large Beer? — Would you like a small 12 oz beer for $4, or a large 12 oz one for $7? Your pick! It reminds me of that old Dunkin' Donuts offer: "Free 3 muffins when you buy 3 at the regular half-dozen price!" Except in the beer case, people were (allegedly) paying more for nothing but a different cup design. Hockey Fans Suing Arena Over Misleading Beer Prices By REBECCA BOONE Associated Press A handful of Idaho hockey fans sued a Boise arena on Tuesday, saying they were duped into thinking a $7…
Posted: Thu Mar 13, 2014.   Comments (0)

Big Mango Disappears — The town of Bowen in Queensland, Australia is home to the world's largest mango statue. It's 33 feet tall, 26 feet wide, and weighs 7 tons. Yesterday, that mango went missing. Employees of the Bowen tourist information centre, adjacent to the statue, said they showed up for work and it was simply gone. CCTV footage revealed a mobile crane backing up to the statue in the night and taking off with it. Word quickly spread via social media of the missing mango. source: Twitter
Posted: Tue Feb 25, 2014.   Comments (0)

Fresh Stone-Age Meat — Back in 2010, Bosch refrigerators ran an unusual ad campaign to promote its VitaFresh technology which, it promised, could keep food fresh longer. They created fake plastic-wrapped cuts of dinosaur legs, mammoth steaks, and saber-tooth filets, and placed these meats in supermarkets throughout Germany. The idea was that this meat is really old, but it's still fresh. Check out the video below to see people's reactions.
Posted: Wed Feb 05, 2014.   Comments (2)

Santa’s Identity Revealed — Currently trending online is this set of pictures showing a chocolate rabbit inside a St. Nicholas wrapper. The photos are accompanied by captions such as "Santa's identity revealed" or "an unexpected plot twist": Is this a case of a chocolate manufacturer repackaging chocolate Easter bunnies for the Christmas market? No. The images actually come from a Dutch ad campaign designed to promote awareness of Alzheimer's disease. The original ad includes a third image showing the chocolate…
Posted: Sun Dec 22, 2013.   Comments (0)

Burger King becomes Fries King — In order to show how excited they are about their new french fries, Burger King recently announced on their Facebook page that they were changing their name to Fries King. They even posted photos of some of their restaurants sporting the new name. The name change is a joke. Although time.com notes that not all of Burger King's facebook followers realized this: "Some are genuinely confused about whether or not the name change is real and have written passionate posts decrying Burger…
Posted: Thu Oct 03, 2013.   Comments (0)

Was Abby Farle a Chick-fil-A sock puppet? — Wikipedia defines a sock puppet as "an online identity used for purposes of deception." And it looks like the fast food restaurant chain Chick-fil-A just got caught red-handed using one. The sock puppet in question was one "Abby Farle" — whose Facebook profile picture showed her to be a teenage girl. But there were some odd things about Abby. For a start, her Facebook account was only created a day ago, and during her brief time on Facebook her sole activity appeared to be defending…
Posted: Wed Jul 25, 2012.   Comments (4)

Samsung Monitor’s amazing energy-saving feature — It's hard to believe this energy-saving feature on the Samsung SA200 monitor is as revolutionary as their marketing team makes it out to be. After all, isn't it just an ON/OFF switch?
Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2012.   Comments (8)

The Coke Bag Hoax — Recently a video began circulating that appeared (despite suspiciously poor production values) to be an advertisement by Coca-Cola announcing a new "Coca-Cola-Bag." The idea was to do away with selling Coke in bottles and switch to biodegradable plastic bags made "in the unique Coca-Cola bottle shape." The video claimed the idea came from Central America where many consumers supposedly already buy Coke in plastic bags in order to avoid paying the bottle deposit. Gizmodo, Digital…
Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2012.   Comments (4)

Pepsi Moonvertising Hoax Fools Thousands in Iran — On Saturday (June 9) thousands of Iranians stood outside on rooftops looking up at the moon. They were there because of a rumor spread by email, websites, and social networks promising that Pepsi was going to project its logo onto the surface of the moon. The rumor was false. Link: observers.france24.com Some Iranians got their revenge by drinking Coke. Others created Pepsi-moon parody videos and images. There's a bit of history to the idea of ads projected onto the moon. Back in…
Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2012.   Comments (3)

Driving into the mouth of the tunnel — It would be cool if there really was a tunnel entrance somewhere in the world that looked like this. But this is one of those brought-to-you-by-photoshop images. The original is an image showing a billboard created in March 2007 by the Austrian ad agency Demner, Merlicek & Bergmann for the restaurant chain Oldtimer. (link: adsoftheworld.com) What's puzzling me is whether the original image is itself photoshopped? Did this Oldtimer billboard ever exist in real life, or is the photo…
Posted: Mon Apr 30, 2012.   Comments (8)

The Mystery of the AB-hancer — An ad for a product called the "AB-hancer" appeared online back in March 2011 and quickly went viral. The text of the ad made it pretty obvious that this wasn't a real product — specifically where the text says, "Recommended by pseudo-athletes." There's also the fact that the product isn't available for purchase anywhere. Though inevitably a few people seemed to think the AB-hancer was real. But the mystery is: Where did this ad come from? Who created it? No one seems to know. Paul…
Posted: Sun Apr 29, 2012.   Comments (4)

Start Cola Earlier, says the Soda Pop Board of America — At first glance, this appears to be a vintage ad by the "Soda Pop Board of America" extolling the virtues of drinking cola at an early age. It's been circulating around the internet for quite a while, during which time many sites have angrily responded to the claims made in the ad. For instance, the Queen Anne Chiropractic Center declared that the ad demonstrates "just how wicked the Mad Men of yesteryear were." The parenting blog babble.com wrote: "We all know that, on occasion,…
Posted: Thu Apr 26, 2012.   Comments (11)

F*** The Diet? — Many people thought this was too weird to be true, but apparently it's real. Multinational mega-corporation Unilever is running an ad campaign in Germany for its "Du Darfst" line of food products that features the English slogan "Fuck the Diet!" It's kinda like if McDonalds were to unveil "Fuck Eating Healthy" as its new ad slogan. A Unilever spokesperson offered this explanation: "Although the current Du Darfst campaign has become a bit of a talking point in Germany -- as effective…
Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2012.   Comments (5)

Those French beaches look great, because they’re really in Hawaii — France's tourism agency has been embarrassed after it's been revealed that a whole series of photos it's been using to promote French beaches don't actually show French locations at all. They're stock photos, taken in Hawaii and South Africa, in the background of which the tourism agency sometimes photoshopped sections of French coastline. It seems stupid since France has some great scenery, but the tourism agency was apparently too cheap to hire a photographer to take photos of any of…
Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2012.   Comments (0)

Stimulus To Allow Critical Hair Expenses Act — On April 1st of this year, hundreds of thousands of men with mustaches are going to gather in Washington, DC to demand tax equity for Mustached Americans. They're hoping to persuade Congress to adopt the Stimulus To Allow Critical Hair Expenses Act, orĀ STACHE Act. The act would allow Mustached Americans to claim tax deductions for expenses such as: Mustache and beard trimming instruments, mustache wax and weightless conditioning agents, Facial hair coloring products (for men and women…
Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012.   Comments (0)

The Case of the Monster Slipper — An article recently appeared in various British newspapers telling the story of one Tom Boddingham who ordered a size 14.5 slipper from Monster Slippers. But due to a translation error, the factory in China that makes the slippers sent a size 1450 slipper instead. Polly Curtis at the Guardian thought the story smelled a bit fishy. And with the help of some people on Twitter, she soon figured out that "Tom Boddingham" coincidentally looked identical to Joseph Jennings, the online…
Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2011.   Comments (5)

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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.