April Fools Jokes of the Past

Personalized Tires (2003) Dunlop Tires announced the availability of a new product: personalized tire treads: “‘For hundreds of years people have been monogramming their clothes, and there’s certainly no shortage of personalized license plates, so why shouldn’t they be able to add a personal touch to their tires too?’ said Ian McIntosh, General Manager of Advertising & Marketing Services, Dunlop Tires (Canada)… Dunlop Ident-a-Treds are the product of more than a decade of top-secret work at the company’s remote Canadian research and development facility in Serit Polnud, NWT. Researchers at the Serit Polnud lab created the new, ultra malleable and highly adhesive tires by combining sticky sap from Canadian maple trees with traditional rubber compounds. Dunlop Ident-a-Tred tires are available with initials, symbols, designs or logos engraved onto the tire treads, combining superior traction and handling with unique style.”

I think this one is just too silly to ever fool anyone – 5/10

Freewheelz (2000) Esquire magazine introduced its readers to an exciting new company called Freewheelz in an article titled “There Are No Free Wheels.” Freewheelz apparently planned to provide drivers with free cars. In exchange, the lucky drivers had to agree both to the placement of large advertisements on the outside of the vehicle and to the streaming of advertisements on the radio inside the car. Prospective drivers also had to submit to a screening process, which required them to submit stool samples and notarized video-store-rental receipts. The article was actually a satire of the much-touted “new economy” spawned by the internet. Attentive readers would have caught on to the joke if they had noticed that Freewheelz’s official rollout on the web was slated to occur on April 1. However, readers who did not notice this barraged the offices of Esquire magazine with phone calls, demanding to know how they could sign up to drive a Stayfresh minivan.

This one is actually kind of funny and maybe a bit believable, many folks these days still think they can get something for nothing – 8/10

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