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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Advertising
The Airbrushed Asian
Posted by The Curator on Mon Dec 22, 2008
When Scottish tourism officials first unveiled the promotional poster for next year's Homecoming Scotland campaign (whose purpose is to get people of Scottish descent to visit the homeland), people looked at it and remarked, "You know, not everyone in Scotland is white." So a second version of the poster was sneaked out, with one small change: an Asian guy had been photoshopped in. (He's on the left side of the bottom image). But most people seem to think the change is even worse than the original, calling it "tokenism" and blasting the government tourism agency for having to "think about it after the event." …
Categories: Advertising, Photos/Videos Comments (10)
Your classmates aren’t looking for you
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 13, 2008
Classmates.com told Anthony Michaels that former classmates were looking for him. If only he would upgrade to a premium membership, they would put him in touch with his school buddies. So Michaels paid the money. Then he discovered that no one was looking for him. Now he's brought a class-action suit against classmates.com for deceptive advertising. There's a fine line in advertising between what's legal and what's not. "Puffery," which is defined as making exaggerated claims that the average consumer would never take literally, is legal. Example: "You'll love it!" However, making specific, factually misleading claims is illegal. For instance, you can't claim that a product regrows hair if it doesn't. Classmates.com…
McCain wins debate that hasn’t happened yet
Posted by The Curator on Fri Sep 26, 2008
Apparently John McCain's campaign has access to the same time machine used by the Chinese journalists at Xinhua News who reported the launch of the Shenzhou VII spacecraft (including the astronaut's dialogue) hours before it happened. (See previous post.) McCain's campaign has been running an ad in the Wall Street Journal's online edition declaring that "McCain Wins Debate," which is a bold assertion considering that the debate will only happen tonight. Link: Washington Post
Adventures in Astroturf
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 25, 2008
Margriet Oostveen describes in Salon.com how she composed phony letters-to-the-editor on behalf of the McCain campaign: The assignment is simple: We are going to write letters to the editor and we are allowed to make up whatever we want -- as long as it adds to the campaign. After today we are supposed to use our free moments at home to create a flow of fictional fan mail for McCain. "Your letters," says Phil Tuchman, "will be sent to our campaign offices in battle states. Ohio. Pennsylvania. Virginia. New Hampshire. There we'll place them in local newspapers." ...…
Categories: Advertising, Politics Comments (4)
Fake iPhone Queues
Posted by The Curator on Mon Aug 25, 2008
There probably is some sound marketing psychology to the idea that if people are seen lining up for something, other people will assume it's desirable. I've often suspected that those people who line up to buy Sony Playstations (or whatever the product might be) are getting paid. From Scotsman.com: A POLISH mobile phone operator said yesterday it had hired actors to stand in line to buy Apple's iPhone as the device went on sale for the first time in the eastern European country. The company, Orange, said it hired the fake customers as a way to stimulate interest.
Categories: Advertising Comments (8)
Wine Spectator Hoaxed
Posted by The Curator on Fri Aug 22, 2008
Osteria L’Intrepido, a restaurant in Milan, Italy, was recently awarded Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence for its wine list. Problem is, Osteria L'Intrepido doesn't exist. It was a hoax restaurant created by Robin Goldstein (author of The Wine Trials) which he created to test the validity of Wine Spectator's award program. Goldstein's description of the hoax can be read here. Wine Spectator's response is here. If you don't know much about Wine Spectator's award program (as I didn't) this article in the NY Times provides some good background. Basically, the awards have long been recognized as a bit of a joke within the restaurant industry. Almost…
Categories: Advertising, Food Comments (9)
Fake Coffee with the News
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jul 23, 2008
Product placement has reached the TV news. On the desk in front of the anchors of Las Vegas's Fox 5 TV news sit two cups of McDonald's iced coffee. McDonald's is paying for the coffee to be there. But the best part: it's not real coffee. It's just a plastic simulation of iced coffee. From the Las Vegas Sun: The anchors aren’t even supposed to acknowledge them, McDonald’s reps explain. That’s part of their genius, my little lambs! They get into your mind without you knowing it. So…
Categories: Advertising, Food Comments (10)
Is the Wii Fit girl video a covert marketing campaign?
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jun 12, 2008
Just as popular recently as the Office Freakout video (posted about below), has been a video titled "Wii Fit - Why You Should Buy It For Your Girlfriend." It's one minute of a girl in her underwear working out with the Nintendo Wii Fit as her boyfriend ogles her. There's been a lot of speculation that the video is a (not-so) covert marketing campaign by Nintendo. People grew even more suspicious after it was discovered that the woman in the video, 25-year-old Lauren Bernat, and her boyfriend, 30-year-old Giovanny Gutierrez, both work in advertising. Even better, they both specialize in internet advertising. But…
Categories: Advertising, Photos/Videos Comments (14)
Office Freakout Video Turns Out to be Fake
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jun 12, 2008
For the past few weeks a video (apparently Russian) of some guy freaking out at his office has been doing the rounds. Tobester posted about it in the forum, speculating that it was real. But no, it isn't. Wired reports that it was covert marketing for the upcoming movie Wanted, starring Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie: The undercover advert hit its target spot-on, amassing nearly 4 million views and almost 5,500 Diggs in the week since it was posted. The video is supposed to invoke themes about escaping one's everyday life -- a point…
Todd Davis’s Social Security Number
Posted by The Curator on Thu May 22, 2008
Todd Davis, CEO of LifeLock, claims his company offers such a high level of identity-theft protection that he's willing to advertise his own social-security number. (It's 457-55-5462.) He's that sure no one is going to be able to steal his identity. Many criminals are quite happy to take him up on the challenge. From Yahoo! News: Davis acknowledged in an interview with The Associated Press that his stunt has led to at least 87 instances in which people have tried to steal his identity, and one succeeded: a guy in Texas who duped an online payday loan…
Categories: Advertising, Scams Comments (11)
Unreal Beauty
Posted by The Curator on Mon May 12, 2008
The models in Dove's "Real Beauty" campaign (whose tagline was "we believe real beauty comes in many shapes, sizes and ages") may have benefitted from some "digital plastic surgery." From The Telegraph: Pascal Dangin, a celebrated retoucher of fashion pictures, claimed the Dove women were far from au naturel. In an interview with New Yorker magazine, Mr Dangin, who runs Box Studios in New York, a company which retouches photographs and does regular work for Vogue, and the fashion companies Dior and Balenciaga, said that he had manipulated the photographs heavily.…
Ticketmaster Creates Fake Facebook Friends
Posted by The Curator on Tue Apr 22, 2008
From the Wired music blog: "It appears that the company [Ticketmaster] hired someone or something to create fake Facebook friends in order to look more popular to other Facebook users." I can understand why Ticketmaster would need to create fake friends. I recently bought tickets to see The Cure. After paying $35 for each ticket, I found out I also had to pay a $20 "convenience charge" to Ticketmaster, which didn't make me feel very friendly toward them.
Categories: Advertising Comments (9)
Food Advertising vs. Reality
Posted by The Curator on Tue Mar 25, 2008
The German website pundo3000.com has assembled a collection of 100 food products and compared what each one looks like, as shown on the packaging, to the actual product. In the majority of cases the difference is quite dramatic. But a few of the food products hold up pretty well in real life. For instance, the Milka chocolate bar looks almost exactly the same as it does on the packaging. But the roll (shown below) looks pretty unappetizing. Funtasticus.com has collected all the images together into an easier-to-view format.
Categories: Advertising, Food Comments (12)
Extreme Street Soccer
Posted by The Curator on Mon Feb 25, 2008
The following video shows kids (maybe in Brazil, I'm guessing) performing extreme freestyle soccer tricks. The tricks are pretty cool, but of course they're fake. The flips may be real, but the soccer ball must have been digitally inserted into the shots. The video is a viral ad for a new playstation game, FIFA Street 3. It reminds me of that Nike ad featuring Ronaldinho that was going around two years ago.
Obay
Posted by The Curator on Fri Feb 22, 2008
Recently strange ads for a drug called "Obay" began appearing around Toronto. The ads were pretty obviously satirical, but who was responsible for them? The Church of Scientology was an early suspect, since they're well known for their anti-psychiatry stance. But it turned out they had nothing to do with the ad campaign. The Torontoist tracked down the real culprit. It's an advocacy group called Colleges Ontario, which represents twenty-four colleges in Ontario. The Torontoist writes: Rob Savage, Colleges Ontario's Director of Communications, called Torontoist moments ago to confirm that Colleges Ontario is indeed…
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