Guinness Mean Time
On March 30, 1998 the Guinness brewery issued a press release announcing that it had reached an agreement with the Old Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England to be the official beer sponsor of the Observatory's millennium celebration.
According to this agreement, Greenwich Mean Time would be renamed Guinness Mean Time until the end of 1999. In addition, the famous observatory would refer to seconds as "pint drips."
The Financial Times
, not realizing that the release was a joke, broke the news in an article in which it discussed how some companies were exploiting the millennium excitement in order to promote their own brand names. It declared that Guinness, with its Greenwich tie-in, was setting a "brash tone for the millennium."
When the Financial Times
learned that it had fallen for a joke, it printed a curt retraction, stating that the news it had disclosed "was apparently intended as part of an April 1 spoof."
- "Brewer pulls April Fool's hoax on British newspaper," Ottawa Citizen, April 1, 1998, Page A8.
- Brian Groom, "Guinness to sponsor the Old Royal Observatory MILLENNIUM DEAL ALLOWS BREWER TO USE 'GREENWICH MERIDIAN 2000' MARK IN ITS MARKETING WORLDWIDE," Financial Times, March 31, 1998, Page 13.
Text copyright © 2002 Alex Boese