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Ok, I'm out of here on holiday, so most likely there shan't be forum roundup posts for the next couple of weeks. They'll be picked up when I get back.

Alien Abduction Caught On Film In Dickinson, North Dakota (Emidawg)
A video has come to light of an alleged alien abduction. Well, when I say ‘come to light’, I mean more that the gentleman involved has sent said film to the director of HBCC UFO Research.
Highlights of the video are said to include a ‘spiraling thing’ and ‘entities’ which remove his blankets. I’m looking forward to the forthcoming release of the film…

Wrestler’s Murder-Suicide of Family (Tah)
Over the course of last weekend, WWE wrestler Chris Benoit tragically murdered his wife and son, then hung himself. The bodies of the family were not found until around 2pm on Monday. However, a little after midnight on Monday morning, someone updated Benoit’s Wikipedia page stating he’d missed a match on Saturday “stemming from the death of his wife Nancy”.
Authorities were looking into this curious incident throughout this week. On Friday, the anonymous user who had made the edits admitted to the changes. He said that the edit was not made with knowledge of the crime, and was based on rumours and speculation. [Entry corrected to say "son" instead of "daughter."]

Evolution of Beauty (Bok)
A short video showing the transformation of a woman from as she naturally is to made-up, photoshopped, altered billboard model.

Japanese toymaker to sell “Air-Guitar”! (David B.)
Takara Tomy Corp are now marketing gadgets to make playing air-guitar just that bit more realistic. The toy can be hooked up to speakers, attached to an MP3 player, or strapped to the wrist to allow music to go along with the motions of playing in a rock band. The item is programmed with ten songs, and will play just as long as the air-guitaring continues.
Categories: Advertising, Celebrities, Extraterrestrial Life, Law/Police/Crime, Photos/Videos, Technology
Posted by Flora on Fri Jun 29, 2007
Comments (5)
I'd be shocked if you didn't know what the iPhone is or that it's going to be in stores this Friday, the 29th, at 6 PM local time. Apple's publicity machine has been working overtime to promote what some are calling the "Jesus Phone."

The iPhone may be over-hyped, but I wouldn't call it a hoax. The guy who is first in line for one at Apple's flagship NYC store, however, might be classified as a hoaxer.

Greg Packer is what you might call a media whore. He's been quoted in the press as a "man on the street" over a hundred times since 1995, according to his Wikipedia entry (by the way, why does HE get his own Wikipedia entry when *I* don't have one? Grrr.) He's so ubiquitous, in fact, that an AP memo asks reporters to try to find other people to comment on things.

According to Wikipedia, he shows up at an average of two media events per week. At the moment I'm typing this, he's sitting outside the Apple store and it's guaranteed that he'll be all over TV on the 29th when Apple finally lets the unwashed touch this (according to some) paradigm-changing gadget.

I doubt that Apple is paying him to camp out, but who knows? Anyway...

UPDATE: Gelt magazine contacted me with a link to a short piece about the origin of the nickname "Jesus Phone":

Link
Categories: Advertising, Pranks, Technology
Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Thu Jun 28, 2007
Comments (16)
image Athletic-apparel company Lululemon has recently been advertising what they claim to be the world's first cologne pill. You swallow it and then you sweat cologne. They call it L'Odeur. The tagline for the product is "Swallow the cologne pill. Sweat the fragrance." You can check out the ad here. There's also an accompanying cheesy video on You Tube.

Of course, it's a hoax. The cologne-pill ads are actually designed to attract attention to a new real product, Silverescent, which is a clothing made from a material that is supposed to reduce sweat odors.
Categories: Advertising
Posted by Alex on Sun Jun 17, 2007
Comments (3)
image
Botched Fax Prompts “Terrorism” Scare (MadCarlotta)
Police shut down a strip mall in Boston on Wednesday after a branch of Bank of America received a faulty fax. The fax, which had been sent out by the bank's corporate office, had left off some of the text, leaving some dubious clip art. The plaza was evacuated for around three hours.

Roswell Theme Park (Madmouse)
Roswell city officials plan a UFO-themed amusement park that could open as early as 2010. Local shopkeepers base a large proportion of their trade around the UFO craze, and believe that the theme park would give tourists more to do whilst visiting.

Dutch Reality Show: Win This Person’s Kidney! (Slender Loris)
Earlier this week, Dutch TV station BNN announced their latest reality show. The premise was that a woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour would choose which of three contestants to donate a kidney to before she died. The Big Donor Show immediately sparked international furore, with mixed attitudes towards the show's concept. Today, it was revealed that the show was a hoax. Whilst it still aired, the woman playing the potential donor was perfectly healthy and, although the three contestants were in need of replacement kidneys, they were fully aware of the show's real premise. The show was aired and advertised as it was to draw attention to the shortage of donor organs in the Netherlands. Judging from the international coverage, they succeeded.

Japanese Ghost Girl (Boo)
Youtube hosts yet another unconvincing 'ghost' video. Look for the point where the special effects kick in.

Car made of cake (Nettie)
Photos of a Skoda advertisement wherein they make a whole car from cake.

An intriguing and mysterious website (Beasjt's number is 669)
Can you decipher the code?
imageimage
Fake Gucci Advertisemant Fools Newspaper
A man in Switzerland phoned a national newspaper and managed to get them to run a two-page advertisement showing himself posing beside a bottle of Gucci perfume. He told the newspaper he was a representative for the company, and told them to send the 60,000 Swiss Frank bill to Gucci.
Forum thread here.
(Thanks, Carlotta.)

Shark with ‘Webbed Feet’ Caught
A Malaysian fisherman recently caught what appeared to be a shark with webbed feet. The 1.7kg shark was given to a worker at the Malaysian Fisheries Development Board in Penang. When she noticed the feet, she gave it back to the fisherman, who threw it back into the sea.
(Thanks, Richard.)

Homer Simpson Appears on Pizza
With a hopeful-sounding minimum bid of $100, the seller from Kentucky has yet to garner a single taker for his piece of half-eaten pizza with the image of Homer Simpson on it.
(Thanks, Andy.)
Categories: Advertising, Animals, eBay, Food, Identity/Imposters
Posted by Flora on Sat Mar 24, 2007
Comments (13)
Havidol.com is a pharmaceutical website touting a solution to Dysphoric Social Attention Consumption Deficit Anxiety Disorder (DSACDAD). Havidol (avafynetyme HCI) comes in both tablet and suppository form, and should be taken indefinitely.

The site is very well made and, frankly, looks more professional than some legitimate websites.
Whilst the names of the drug are the first sign that this site shouldn't be taken seriously, there are other signs scattered throughout the site. For example:

Side effects may include mood changes, muscle strain, extraordinary thinking, dermal gloss, impulsivity induced consumption, excessive salivation, hair growth, markedly delayed sexual climax, inter-species communication, taste perversion, terminal smile, and oral inflammation.

When one goes to the 'shop' page, the only actually purchasable item is a t-shirt (ever the sign of a fake website). Clicking any of the other items opens up the webpage for the New York Daneyal Mahmood gallery, which is currently showing an exhibition based around the concept of Havidol by artist Justine Cooper.

(Thanks, Thierry.)
Categories: Advertising, Art, Health/Medicine, Websites
Posted by Flora on Mon Mar 05, 2007
Comments (6)
image
Chicken Born With Duck Feet
A chicken in Columbia has surprised everyone by being born with webbed feet and legs like a duck. Vetinary experts say that the chicken is not a result of cross-species breeding, and is just a genetic mishap.
(Thanks, Adam.)

Divine Or Delusional?
wcbstv.com has a gallery of images showing items on which religious icons have allegedly been found. We've covered a few of them here, but some of the images were new to me. I found I could generally make out the figure or face or whatever was being claimed to be there, if I squinted or tilted my head, however some of them were really beyond my ability to make out, even though I was trying to. Personally, I accredit these phenomena to pareidolia.

Vatican Newspaper Denounces Fake Penitent
The Vatican Newspaper has attacked a reporter who, in the course of writing an article for a magazine, made false confessions to 24 different priests. The article the reporter was writing was researching whether priests followed the strict teachings of the church, and how they handled difficult situations in which to give advice.

Museum of Hoaxes is Site of the Week
Scifi.com has this week chosen the Museum of Hoaxes as its Site of the Week.
(Thanks, Hulitoons.)
Categories: Advertising, Animals, Journalism, Pareidolia, Religion
Posted by Flora on Sun Feb 11, 2007
Comments (15)
Blinking boxes placed around Boston caused major disruption after worried passers-by called in bomb scares to the local authorities.

Boxes variously described as having blinking lights, looking like circuit boards, and having wires hanging from them, were positioned in ten locations throughout Boston. When the authorities investigated them, they discovered that the devices were a marketing ploy for the adult cartoon Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

A few hours after the reports began about the devices, Turner Broadcasting, a division of Time Warner Inc. and parent of Cartoon Network, sent out a statement to clear up the situation.

The packages, which were magnetic light boxes depicting a cartoon character flipping the bird, had been placed around ten different cities: Boston; New York; Los Angeles; Chicago; Atlanta; Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Austin, Texas; San Francisco; and Philadelphia as a guerilla marketing campaign.

The two men, Peter Berdovsky and Sean Stevens, who were employed to plant the devices around Boston have been charged with placing hoax devices, and have been released on bail. They contend that they had no intent to cause a panic, and can therefore not, by law, be charged with the offence.

Turner Broadcasting have agreed to pay $2 million to settle claims and to release themselves from any legal liability.

Several of the devices were being sold on ebay, as of Thursday.

There is a thread regarding this topic in the forum.

Thanks to all who sent us information.
Categories: Advertising
Posted by Flora on Tue Feb 06, 2007
Comments (17)
imageAccording to the BBC, an association of cheesemakers from Somerset have come up with a new and innovative marketing campaign for the die-hard cheese lovers amongst us.

The new cheddarvision webcam is set up so that customers can watch their cheese maturing over the course of a year. The feed was reportedly started on the first day of 2007, but the site had been running for several days before that, and the counter has now reached 10 days.

So, is it legitimate? Difficult to say. The West Country Farmhouse Cheesemakers does seem to be a real organisation, and yes, they produce cheese. As to the webcam, that's more difficult to say. Cheese isn't the most mobile of subject matter, and it's nigh impossible to tell whether it is a current web feed or just looped footage. Or, indeed, a photograph.
(Thanks, Dave.)

UPDATE 2/4/07: It is clear now that this is a real web feed. Here is a time lapse video of months 0-3.
(Thanks, Beasjt.)
Categories: Advertising, Food
Posted by Flora on Mon Jan 01, 2007
Comments (39)
Two people contacted the San Diego police department after reading an advertisement offering a free baby on Craigslist, an online classified ad service. The police obtained copies of the advertisement after being alerted to the possible child endangerment matter.

The ad said: “Free baby boy to good home. My ex-girlfriend had him a few weeks ago, but now he just sits in my closet and cries. I'm not too sure how to deal with it, and I'm in a pretty low financial spot. I lost all the baby accessories. Batteries not included. Transaction final. No returns. Guaranteed not DOA.”
There was also a photograph of a baby, and the information that the baby was in San Diego and would be delivered.

The ad had been removed when the police tried to access it at noon on the same day.

Police involved in the investigation are attempting to trace the person who placed the advertisement.

Judging from the language, I'd assume it was a joke, but I understand that the police have to follow it up. Just in case.

(Thanks, Sergio.)
Categories: Advertising, Birth/Babies
Posted by Flora on Sun Nov 26, 2006
Comments (8)
Here we go again. Yet another ad circulating around that features a plane flying towards two tower-like structures. Wilson Bryan Key would probably claim that it's done deliberately as a form of subliminal seduction, like the skulls hidden inside ice cubes in alcohol ads. I, on the other hand, am willing to give the advertisers the benefit of the doubt. Although I'm not sure exactly what those tower-like structures are. Stereo speakers, I'm guessing. (Submitted anonymously)

image

Update: Looks like American Airlines pulled the ad and replaced it with this version (that omits the speakers).
Categories: Advertising, Hate Crimes/Terror
Posted by Alex on Mon Sep 25, 2006
Comments (25)
Man Bites Panda
A drunken tourist climbed in with Gu Gu the panda at Beijing zoo. When the startled panda bit him, he bit it back.
"I bit the panda on its back but its fur was too thick," Mr Zhang recalled.
He went on: "No one ever said they would bite people. I just wanted to touch it."

Jerusalem - There's No Such City!
According to a mistranslated sightseeing brochure, at least. The pamphlet, translated from Hebrew, should have read "Jerusalem - there's no city like it!".

Dog With Knicker Obsession Gets Surgery
Deefer, a Bull Mastiff has eaten at least ten pairs of knickers over the last year. Embarrassing surgery was required recently when the last two pairs became lodged in Deefer's intestine, costing his owners more than £1,000.

Sudanese Man is Forced to 'Marry' Goat
When Mr Tombe was caught having sex with his neighbour's goat, he was taken to a council of elders, who ordered him to pay a dowry of 15,000 Sudanese dinars, and gave him the goat. The neighbour is quoted as saying "They said I should not take him to the police, but rather let him pay a dowry for my goat because he used it as his wife."

(Thanks, Accipiter.)
Categories: Advertising, Animals, Places
Posted by Flora on Fri Sep 22, 2006
Comments (17)
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