The Museum of Hoaxes
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Swiss peasants harvest spaghetti from trees, 1957
Rachael Ray cooks her family and her dog
Fake Fish Photos
Use your left ear to detect lies
The Diaphote, a television hoax, 1880
Lord Gordon-Gordon, robber of the robber barons, 1871
Tourist Guy 9/11 Hoax, Sep 2001
The Great Electric Sugar Swindle, 1884
Script of Casablanca rejected, 1982
Van Gogh's ear exhibited, 1935
The Case of the Monster Slipper
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.

monster slipper

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, is that the debunker actually can't help but publicize the PR hoaxer even more by repeating the story. Which plays into their hand. For instance, I'm now aware of Monster Slippers, and I never would have been if it weren't for the Guardian article. P.T. Barnum was very aware of this phenomenon. He would sometimes purposefully spread rumors debunking his own hoaxes in order to generate renewed media interest.

So you have to wonder, would it be better simply to ignore these PR stunts, and thereby not give the PR people the publicity they're looking for? It's a bit of a dilemma. Though my feeling is that the debunkers should never be blamed for doing their job. (Thanks, Laurie!)
Categories: Advertising, Products
Posted by The Curator on Thu Oct 20, 2011
Comments (5)
It's clever, it's funny, and if debunking it gives it more publicity, what's the problem?
Posted by Chakolate  on  Thu Oct 20, 2011  at  05:10 PM
Heh. Seeing this repeated as fact in a few other places..

As PR hoaxes go, this one's pretty blatant. There's a prevailing sense of 'Oh come ON people' when you read it.

ALso: Tom Boddingham is totally going to be the name of the next hobbit I play in D&D.
Posted by Robin Bobcat  in  Californian Wierdo  on  Fri Oct 21, 2011  at  03:14 AM
I think it's a good advertising strategy, at least this one and besides...........I really love that slipper-bed!!!
Posted by hulitoons  in  Abingdon, Maryland  on  Sat Oct 22, 2011  at  06:42 AM
I really really want one of those slippers! grin
Posted by Nettie  in  Perth, Western Australia  on  Sun Oct 23, 2011  at  06:02 AM
A pair of them would certainly come in handy up camping! smile
Posted by daveprime  in  Deep in the sticks...*yay internet!!*  on  Thu Dec 01, 2011  at  11:33 AM
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