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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Advertising
Driving into the mouth of the tunnel
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 30, 2012
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 just a concept piece? I can't find any pictures showing the Oldtimer billboard from a different angle. I can't find any sources that list…
The Mystery of the AB-hancer
Posted by The Curator on Sun Apr 29, 2012
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 Lucas at infomercial-hell.com theorizes that the image came from an old, out-of-print "prank box." Prank boxes are gag gift boxes that look…
Start Cola Earlier, says the Soda Pop Board of America
Posted by The Curator on Thu Apr 26, 2012
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, advertisements can offer some fairly crappy advice. Back in the day, though, ads had no shame." And NaturalNews.com offered the ad as evidence that, "Soda companies,…
Categories: Advertising, Food Comments (11)
F*** The Diet?
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 18, 2012
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 marketing should -- it is targeted specifically at German consumers and uses language that we do not believe most German consumers find offensive. This is because the…
Categories: Advertising, Food Comments (5)
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 it. (link: Daily Mail) This is hardly the first time tourism agencies have been caught pulling this trick. In Hippo Eats Dwarf I noted some examples, including a 2003 brochure for Bermuda that showed sunny beaches…
Stimulus To Allow Critical Hair Expenses Act
Posted by The Curator on Mon Mar 05, 2012
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 over 43 years of age), bacon, mustache combs and mirrors, DVD collections of "Magnum P.I." and "Smokey & The Bandit," mustache insurance (now required by state law in Alabama, Oregon, Maine, and New Mexico, and Puerto Rico), billy…
The Case of the Monster Slipper
Posted by The Curator on Thu Oct 20, 2011
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 retail manager for Monster Slippers. In other words, the entire story was a PR stunt. The thing about stories like this, which pop up with amazing regularity,…
Categories: Advertising, Products Comments (5)
Live Forever Juice
Posted by The Curator on Tue Oct 04, 2011
Live Forever Juice is a fake product that was created for educational purposes by FDAImports, a consulting company that specializes in advising companies how to comply with FDA regulations. The idea was to make a food product whose packaging was full of illegal claims, then walk people through why the claims are illegal. (via: The Food Watchdog). The company handed out samples of Live Forever Juice at a recent trade fair in Baltimore. They also have an accompanying website, liveforeverjuice.com, on which they have some videos that explain what kind of claims companies are legally allowed to make on the packaging of their food products, and what claims they can't…
Categories: Advertising, Food Comments (1)
Twiggy ad ruled misleading
Posted by The Curator on Wed Dec 16, 2009
The UK Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that an advertisement featuring Twiggy is misleading. The ad has Twiggy claiming that "Olay is my secret to brighter-looking eyes." In fact, the brightness of her eyes in the photo is due to digital manipulation. Link: sky.com Real Twiggy Fake Twiggy
Mass: We Pray
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 19, 2009
Mass: We Pray claims to be a new video game that allows you to simulate going to church, without ever leaving home. Shacknews.com reports receiving a press release from Prayer Works Interactive, the maker of this purported product. An excerpt follows: Mass: We Pray is the first of many worship-themed games in development for Prayer Works Interactive. Just like with any videogame, families can use a television as a monitor to play. Then, they can use the CROSS, a proprietary, wireless, cross-shaped controller to participate in 24 unique…
Billboards for Submarines, part 2
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 13, 2009
I posted two months ago about underwater billboards that Ivar Haglund supposedly placed at the bottom of Puget Sound back in the 1950s in order to advertise his restaurant to submarines. Some suspected a hoax, and it turns out they were right. From the Seattle Times: That story about those Ivar's underwater billboards at the bottom of Puget Sound, supposedly anchored in the mid-1950s?... Fake, fake, fake. The documents were faked on a computer. The billboard was a wooden prop, says Bob Donegan, president of Ivar's Inc. The…
Categories: Advertising Comments (4)
The Case of the Carbolic Smoke Ball
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 06, 2009
Clive Coleman tells the story for BBC Radio 4 of the Carbolic Smoke Ball Company. It was an 1892 case of fraudulent advertising. The case against them is "seen by some as the birth of modern consumer protection": The carbolic smoke ball was a peculiar device marketed as a cure for various ailments including influenza. It consisted of a rubber ball, filled with powdered carbolic acid. You squeezed the ball sending a puff of acidic smoke right up a tube inserted into your nose. The idea was that your nose would run…
Save On All Jackets!
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 05, 2009
Random banner ad. (via Reddit)
Categories: Advertising Comments (2)
Billboards for Submarines?
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 21, 2009
Around 1954 Ivar Haglund anchored billboards to the bottom of Puget Sound. He said that he thought it would be a good way to advertise his restaurant, Ivar's Chowder, to anyone who happened to be passing by in a submarine. The modern-day Ivar's restaurant chain is now raising the billboards from the sea. Or are they? Some suspect a hoax. From the Seattle Times: In the past month, the company has had divers bring up three of the billboards — about 7 by 22 feet and made of stainless steel — using a map found in their founder's immense…
Categories: Advertising Comments (3)
Does Farrah Fawcett’s hair spell “SEX” in her famous poster?
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jun 25, 2009
In honor of Farrah Fawcett, let's revisit one of the major urban legends of the late 1970s: that the curls of Fawcett's hair, in her famous red-bathing-suit poster, spell out the word "SEX." This legend arose to explain the incredible popularity of the poster, which sold over 12 million copies (by some accounts). It was always a bit of a mystery why that image in particular became such a focus of popular fixation. After all, there were plenty of other posters of scantily clad attractive young women. The subliminal seduction theory offered a seemingly plausible explanation. The poster was so popular, according to this theory, because the brains of young…
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