Advertising Hoaxes

Where Is My Gnome, Part 2 — A lot of people have been emailing me to let me know that the Where Is My Gnome site is part of a viral web campaign by Travelocity, but I've been too busy and never got around to updating that entry. But here's an article that explains the Gnome campaign.
Posted: Thu Jan 08, 2004.   Comments (2)

Where Is My Gnome — Bill has lost his garden gnome. Someone stole it from his lawn. Now he's hoping that you can help him find it. There's even a 1-800 number you can call if you have any info, but Dani, who told me about the site, reports that if you call the number "a nervous sounding man asks you to leave a message if you have information about his gnome, then before the beep, he says 'Mom, if this is you, hang up now.'"
Posted: Sat Dec 27, 2003.   Comments (1)

What Brand Are You? — This is one of those cases where a joke supposedly becomes reality. An advertising company (The Design Conspiracy) created a joke website called What Brand Are You?, whose purpose was to spoof the bizarre brand names that companies are increasingly dreaming up—names such as Aviva, Diageo, and Corus. Visitors to What Brand Are You could type in their name, their 'core values,' and their goals, and the supercomputer powering the website would then spit out a personalized brand name free…
Posted: Mon Nov 17, 2003.   Comments (1)

My Son Peter — Here's a spooky site. It's called 'My Son Peter.' I'll use the text from the site itself to describe it: "My son Peter has always loved to play hide and seek. In fact, he loves it so much that he will wake me up in the middle of the night to play. The only problem is that Peter has been dead for eight years. This website documents the hell I've lived and continue to live every night." It's a fairly simple site, and it doesn't look like it's been updated for quite a while, so maybe…
Posted: Wed Nov 05, 2003.   Comments (10)


Skyhigh Airlines — Here's a new hoax website that's making the rounds: Skyhigh Airlines. It's motto is 'Flying More. Caring Less.' I love their Challenge Seating Innovation. You fight with other passengers for the seat you want. Also check out the list of cities they fly out of. Where else can you get a roundtrip ticket from Araz Stage Stop, CA to Smeltertown, TX? The site appears to have been created by Alaska Airlines, as part of a new humor-themed advertising campaign. There are accompanying TV and…
Posted: Mon Sep 29, 2003.   Comments (1)

False Advertising — Fark.com is running a contest to photoshop ads that use false advertising. There are a few amusing entries, such as 'Spam: 100% Pure Meat.'
Posted: Wed Sep 17, 2003.   Comments (0)

Outhouse Springs Water — Stuart Elliott, in today's edition of his NY Times email newsletter, writes about a hoax product that recently became a real product. It goes by the name Outhouse Springs water. This brand of bottled water was dreamed up by an advertising agency that wanted to gauge how effective outdoor billboard ads could be. So they put 40 billboards advertising the fictitious Outhouse Springs Water up around Charleston, South Carolina. The billboards sported slogans such as "It's #1, not #2!"…
Posted: Tue Aug 12, 2003.   Comments (0)

The Cesky Sen Hypermarket — How do people react when their expectations built up by advertising collide with reality? That was the question two Czech film students set out to answer. They flooded Czech media with advertisements for a new 'hypermarket'—Cesky sen— offering goods at rock-bottom prices. New TV sets for $19, for instance. Eager shoppers flooded to the hypermarket's address, shopping bags in hand, only to find a large empty scaffold bearing a banner fluttering aimlessly in the wind. (Story via Paul…
Posted: Mon Aug 11, 2003.   Comments (0)

Hunting for Bambi — It looks like it's now 100% official that Hunting for Bambi was a hoax.
Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2003.   Comments (0)

Hunting for Bambi (hopefully final update) — So I think it's finally official that Hunting for Bambi is a hoax, a publicity stunt done to sell videos. Isn't it wonderful that public attention gets focused on things like this rather than, oh, poverty, hunger, education, etc.?
Posted: Sun Jul 27, 2003.   Comments (0)

Hunting for Bambi Update — It's looking more and more like Hunting for Bambi is a hoax. George Evanthes, the man who claimed to have paid to go on a Bambi hunt, is now being denounced as a shill by his friends. And the Hunting for Bambi company is claiming that it can no longer hold any Bambi Hunts because all the potential customers have been scared away by negative publicity. Seems like a convenient excuse.
Posted: Wed Jul 23, 2003.   Comments (0)

More about Hunting for Bambi — Suspicions that Hunting for Bambi is a hoax seem to be growing. If the company is for real then it should be easy enough for them to prove it. Show that you're signing people up for new 'hunts.' Produce the accounting records to prove that you've taken people's money for hunts in the past. But of course they won't do that. These hoaxes always work the same way. Stall and delay for as long as possible while you milk the controversy for all the publicity you can get. KLAS-TV, the Las…
Posted: Fri Jul 18, 2003.   Comments (0)

Hunting for Bambi — Is 'Hunting for Bambi' a hoax? In case you somehow missed it (hiding under a rock, or something), Hunting for Bambi is supposedly a company that for $10,000 will let guys hunt naked women with a paintball gun in the desert outside of Las Vegas. The company got some local TV coverage, and then the larger news outlets picked up on the story, initiating a media frenzy. But based on the emails I've been getting, a lot of people are suspicious about the company's claims. After all, exactly…
Posted: Thu Jul 17, 2003.   Comments (0)

Antennalopes — If you go to the movies this summer, you just might be lucky enough to see footage of this intriguing tall-tale creature: the Antennalope. These creatures (antelopes with antennae on their heads) are "bred to instantly relay radio signals as they frolic." They constantly roam the country in herds, instinctively migrating to where radio signals are weakest, thus helping to make possible a truly mobile national phone network. The antennalopes are featured in ads for Nextel that play…
Posted: Wed Jul 16, 2003.   Comments (0)

Posted: Thu Jul 10, 2003.   Comments (0)

National Blonde Day — Oops. I forgot that yesterday was National Blonde Day, so designated by the Blonde Legal Defense Club. The day is designed to promote respect for the intelligence and accomplishments of blondes. In reality, it's a publicity stunt for the Legally Blonde movie.
Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2003.   Comments (0)

Misleading Ad — Here's another case of the underlying reality of what an ad is showing being out of sync with the message the ad is trying to deliver. A Canadian campaign commercial shows a shot of a smiling family accompanied by a voice over that says, "I want a premier who believes what I believe." But the family shown is an American family from Oregon. Oops.
Posted: Fri Jun 20, 2003.   Comments (0)

Spoof Ads — The Globe and Mail argues that many of the spoof ads going around recently are actually inside jobs created by the companies being spoofed.
Posted: Fri Jun 06, 2003.   Comments (0)

Subliminal Advertising in Russia — The LA Times reports that subliminal advertising is still widely used in Russian ads, even though the whole concept was revealed to be a hoax back in the 1960s. (Requires registration).
Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2002.   Comments (0)

I Am Turok — Here's a strange publicity stunt: a London company is seeking five people who are willing to officially change their name to Turok for one year. These people will then be walking, talking billboards helping to spread the word about the X-Box game called 'Turok: Evolution.'
Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2002.   Comments (1)

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