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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Advertising
“Less Wrinkles”
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jan 30, 2008
This ad, which has been running on digg, seems like a particularly egregious example of false advertising. Of course, if anyone would challenge the company in court they could say, "we never actually claimed our product could make an old lady look like a young model. That picture, as the disclaimer indicates, is merely simulated imagery." The grammar cop in me also has to point out that it should be "fewer wrinkles," not "less wrinkles." (via adrants)
Categories: Advertising Comments (6)
Jontex Condom Ad - Possible Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jan 11, 2008
The image to the right shows what is supposedly a guerrilla marketing campaign by Jontex, a Brazilian brand of condoms owned by Johnson & Johnson. The campaign involves a cardboard cutout that can be positioned beneath the door of a bathroom stall. The Brazilian phrase translates to, "You do not know when it can be necessary." But strangely, Johnson and Johnson is denying responsibility for the ad. Or, at least, the folks who run the Johnson and Johnson blog claim it's not their company's campaign: By talking…
Categories: Advertising, Sex/Romance Comments (3)
Cheer Chains
Posted by The Curator on Sun Dec 23, 2007
If you've been to Starbucks in the past week or so, you've been at risk of finding yourself trapped in a "cheer chain." What this means is that the person in line in front of you pays for your drink, and in return you're supposed to pay for the drink of the person behind you. This goes on and on, ad nauseam. The Associated Press reported on one cheer chain that totaled 1,013 customers. The question is, are these cheer chains a true spontaneous phenomenon, or are they a cynically created pr stunt? The phenomenon supposedly began when Arthur Rosenfeld offered to pay for the drink…
Categories: Advertising, Food Comments (16)
Misleading Papa Johns Ad
Posted by The Curator on Mon Dec 17, 2007
Here's another case of a misleading claim in an advertisement. This time from Papa Johns, who offers unlimited toppings, as long as you have a maximum of no more than five toppings. (posted by Nave_7 on flickr.) Related posts: Deceptive Ad (Dec 3, 2007) Deceptive Sign (Sep 10, 2007)
Categories: Advertising Comments (13)
Deceptive Ad
Posted by The Curator on Mon Dec 03, 2007
Here's another example of a retailer creating a misleading display for their product. It's not technically a lie, but it certainly could confuse a shopper who didn't pay close attention. The image has been circulating around the internet recently. Unfortunately, I can't remember where I first saw it. Related Post: Deceptive Sign. Update: The image was first posted on, emailed to them by "William" who saw it at a Toys R Us. (Though I figured out that I first saw it via this reddit link, which didn't offer any explanatory details.)
Categories: Advertising Comments (11)
The Happy Endings Foundation
Posted by The Curator on Mon Oct 08, 2007
The Happy Endings Foundation believes that all children's books should have happy endings. Those that don't should be banned. The organization was (supposedly) started seven years ago by Adrienne Small after she noticed that her daughter seemed miserable after reading Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. Mrs. Small plans to rewrite the Lemony Snicket books to give them a happy ending. Some upcoming events planned by the Happy Endings Foundation include a Halloween "fun and greeting" celebration instead of trick or treating. "Children will be encouraged to knock on someone's door and offer a smlie." Sounds fun. A few days later the…
Cursed Japanese Kleenex Commercial
Posted by The Curator on Mon Oct 01, 2007
A commercial for Kleenex that aired in Japan during the 1980s became the focus of an urban legend. Derek Bassett last year described the legend on his blog Mohora: So the story is this commercial for Kleenex tissues was shown on Japanese TV back in 1986 or so. It features an actress in a white dress sitting next to a child made up to look like a baby ogre. There is a really creepy song in a foreign language that when researched, is actually an old German folk song with the words “Die, die, everyone is cursed and will be killed.”…
Deceptive Sign
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 10, 2007
I saw the following deceptive sign blogged about on LAist: It seems to advertise a dozen roses for $4, but on closer inspection it's actually advertising a dozen roses for $10. A classic bait and switch scam. I wrote about some similar advertising scams in Hippo Eats Dwarf. My favorites were the Cleveland Finance Loan Company which enticed those seeking a loan with this offer: "Pay nothing til first payment." Dunkin Donuts offered: "Free 3 muffins when you buy 3 at the regular 1/2 dozen prize."
Categories: Advertising Comments (8)
Two days ago I noted that I had posted an account of the "September Morn" controversy in the hoaxipedia, and I also said that I had my doubts about the role the publicist Harry Reichenbach played in the controversy. Well, I did some more research, and I've now been able to confirm my doubts. Reichenbach was just spinning a wild yarn. Some background: The story (according to Reichenbach) is that back in 1913 he was working at a New York City art dealer who was trying to sell 2000 copies of a little-known work of art that showed a young woman bathing in a lake. Reichenbach came up with the idea of staging a phony protest. He…
Categories: Advertising, Art, History Comments (7)
Water-Skiing Elephant
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 06, 2007
You can find a lot of weird stuff on YouTube, such as this video of a water-skiing elephant. Watching it, I feel kind of sorry for the poor elephant made to do this. The story behind the video is that it was a publicity stunt from 1959 dreamed up by New York PR man Max Rosey in order to promote an amusement park. Rosey was also the man who came up with the idea for an annual hot dog eating contest in Coney Island to promote Nathan's hot dogs. I found this video (and the explanation about it) on…
Categories: Advertising, Animals Comments (9)
Best of the forum - 17th August 07
Posted by Boo on Fri Aug 17, 2007
Well, after my holiday, my laptop went down, and it's only this week that I'm back online. I do extend my apologies for the lack of 'Best of the Forum' posts for the last few weeks. Receive the Holy Oil! (Transfrmr) Forum member Transfrmr found a rather... interesting advertisement in a local free newspaper. The advertisement (see above link) shows the text: "I heard voices calling my name but saw nobody. Sometimes the voices told me to throw myself under a car. To top it off I also suffered with terrible nightmares...I had no peace at all! I did a chain of Prayer,…
Unfortunate Server Ad
Posted by The Curator on Thu Aug 09, 2007
Just last week Intel got in trouble for a poorly thought-out ad. And now another technology company is in hot water for the same reason. Quite a few blogs have been posting a picture of a print ad created by It shows an attractive woman's face with the caption, "Don't feel bad, our servers won't go down on you either." Intel could credibly claim that they didn't intend for their ad to be racist, but it's hard for QSOL to argue that they didn't intend for this to be sexist. Someone at QSOl must have thought…
Categories: Advertising Comments (11)
Controversial Sprinter Ad
Posted by The Curator on Wed Aug 01, 2007
Lots of blogs have been posting this recent Intel ad, pointing out the racist implications of six black men appearing to bow down to a white man. (I actually think all the crouching runners are the same guy, photoshopped into six different places.) Whether or not it's racist isn't the question. The question for the MoH is: Is it really an ad by Intel? After all, although it's been widely posted, most blogs haven't specified exactly where the ad ran. The answer is that it definitely is an actual Intel ad. It…
Categories: Advertising Comments (12)
M is for Fake
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jul 25, 2007
Cosmetics giant Elizabeth Arden has gone on record to let everyone know that an image apparently circulating around the internet, showing a supposed ad for Mariah Carey's new perfume, M, is a fake. An Arden spokesman says: "An image of MC with her fragrance bottle photoshopped in the corner is being featured on several blogs today, and is categorically not the advertisement for her new fragrance, nor is it even remotely close. The real ad for M by Mariah Carey will debut exclusively on…
Categories: Advertising Comments (10)
Cerne Abbas Homer
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jul 25, 2007
A 180ft image of a donut-waving Homer Simpson recently appeared on a hillside in Dorchester, beside the famous Cerne Abbas Giant. The image is part of the publicity for the new Simpsons movie. However, the stunt has not pleased local pagans, who believe it to be disrespectful. Catherine Hosen, Wiltshire representative for The Pagan Federation, says, "I find it quite shocking and very disrespectful. It's just a publicity stunt for a film and we are talking about a monument which is definitely of great historical significance and a lot of people feel has important spiritual significance as well." However, the pagans…
Categories: Advertising, Places Comments (8)
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