SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — On the first day of April, everything has to be taken with a grain of salt. April Fool’s Day is filled with pranks, jokes and hoaxes that sometimes seem very real. Other times, they are outlandish enough to crack a smile and brighten the day with absurdity.
For years now, brands have been getting in on the April Fool’s Day action, sharing silly products and activities hoping to bring some joy to their customers. There are many good jokes and pranks from history to choose from, here are some of the cream of the crop.
Taco Bell buys the Liberty Bell
Taco Bell set the bar high in 1996 when they played probably the greatest April Fool’s Day joke of all time. The fast-food chain took out an ad in The Washington Post, the New York Times, and three other newspapers on April 1, announcing the company had purchased the Liberty Bell and was renaming it to the “Taco Liberty Bell.”
The ad claimed Taco Bell was buying the bell to help the country with its national debt. According to an article written by the Washington Post at the time, Taco Bell was proud of the joke. Even the White House got in on it when then spokesman Michael McCurry said the government was also entering a deal with Ford Motor for the “Lincoln Mercury Memorial.”
Netflix reminds viewers to “Binge Responsibly”
In 2015, Netflix shared a joke at the expense of its viewers who have become known for “binge-watching” entire shows. The video streaming service set up a series of videos featuring actors from some of their most popular shows. These public service announcements remind viewers to take care of themselves by showering, doing their homework, or actually going to work.
An article from Entertainment Weekly at the time highlights Michael Kelly (“House of Cards”) telling viewers to go outside, take a walk, get fresh air, and say hi to a person. The video reminders would pop up every two to three episodes of the same show, interrupting binge-watchers to remind them to binge responsibly.
Pac-Man takes over the streets of Google Maps
Less of a joke at anyone’s expense but more of something different for internet browsers looking for some directions, Google introduced Pac-Man to Google Maps in 2015. During April Fool’s Day, the easter egg allowed users to play as Pac-Man, eat dots, and avoid the iconic ghosts Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde on the streets of their hometown.
Players reportedly had five lives to rack up a high score, which they could choose to share once the game was over. ABC4 reported at the time that it wasn’t the first time Google introduced a video-game-style easter egg to Maps. In 2014, the search-engine giant hid the original 151 Pokemon for a chance to become Google’s “Pokemon Master.”
McDonald’s introduces a subscription box
In 2016, McDonald’s introduced its first-ever subscription box called the MmmBox. Only, it was an April Fool’s Day hoax. The MmmBox was offered in three different styles: The Artisan, The Minimalist, and the Ribster.
Each box was unique in its own right, but the Ribster filled every McRib-loving hipster’s dream by including a plaid flannel napkin, a mustache comb, an irony card, and of course, a McRib. According to McDonald’s, the Ribster subscription box was the “tangy lunch alternative for non-mainstream taste buds.”
Woman pranks husband with dozens of Amazon boxes
This one isn’t a brand, but it’s the perfect use for those piles of Amazon boxes. In 2019, a woman from Wisconsin played a hilarious prank on her husband by saving up six months’ worth of Amazon boxes sent to her house, as well as from her sister and parents. When April Fool’s Day came around, she took all the boxes and placed them on her porch.
When her husband reportedly came from work, he thought all the boxes had been delivered just that day. All according to plan. The woman recorded her husband’s reaction to the boxes, who stared in shock at all the boxes before coming inside and repeatedly asking her, “What is all that?!” Eventually, she gave in and explained the genius behind her prank.
April Fool’s Day is this Saturday, so be extra vigilant with what you read online and take everything with an extra grain of salt.