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Corporate April Fools' pranks: Did you fall for them?

Last Updated Apr 1, 2019 at 8:03 pm EDT

April Fools’ is upon us — a day of suspicion, distrust and heightened vigilance against pranks and “fake news.”

While the day used to be one for tricking your friends and avoiding being tricked by them, it has increasingly become one to watch out for various corporate capers — some more elaborate than others.

Here is our roundup of most amusing April Fools’ gags by companies this year:

WestJet Flyre Festival

WestJet produced a slick video touting the “world’s first premium in-flight music festival” called Flyre Festival – playing off Fyre Festival, which also did not happen.

The video parodies everything from EDM to social media influencers and also managed to squeeze in a cute pig for good measure. The elaborate gag is in fact a promo for their Flyre Sale offering discounted rates on flights.

Jack Astor’s Marijuana Menu

Forget the hot sauce — pass the pot sauce!

Jack Astor’s sent out a release Monday introducing “The Marijuana Menu.”

The new offerings apparently include wings tossed in their new “legalized original recipe cannabis sauce” infused with CBD extract.

This one is almost believable given it was perfectly timed with the opening of Ontario’s brick and mortar cannabis stores, but the restaurant was only blowing smoke with this high-flying menu item.

Jack Astor's fake Marijuana Menu
Jack Astor’s introduced a fictional Marijuana Menu on April 1, 2019. Credit: Jack Astor’s

 

Hamilton Police Feline Unit

While not exactly a corporation, the Hamilton Police Service (HPS) also got in on the April Fools’ fun with the announcement of the first police Feline Unit in the country in a YouTube video that is as adorable as it is false.

With a convincingly serious expression, HPS Const. David Kerkhof leads viewers through their “state of the art” training facility where cats are tested “on their independence to search, sniffing ability, ability to climb, agility.” He also talks about tapping into their “night vision ability” and training them to be “an effective tool in our policing kit.”

The obvious but charming deception is for a good cause – the video reminds people that there are several cats available for adoption at the Hamilton SPCA.

 

Swiss Chalet sauce flavoured ice cream

You either love it or hate it, but there’s no denying Swiss Chalet’s dipping sauce is a Canadian classic.

The restaurant chain added a summer treat to its menu that was thankfully a trick, with a post advertising Chalet Sauce flavoured ice cream.

Honda Pastport

Harking back to simpler times, Honda produced a 90s style video promoting a retro-themed “trim” for its all new 2019 Passport, aptly called “The Pastport.”

The vehicle claims to have the “authentic look of the new Passport on the outside, yet simplified with everything you love about the ’90s on the inside,” including a cassette deck, digital clock and beeper mount.

The video is created in the old 3:4 aspect ratio for an authentic 90s feel and features neon graphics and various ancient artifacts including slap bracelets, CDs and a paper map.

ThinkGeek’s prank products

Online retailer ThinkGeek’s prank products have become a yearly staple and this year’s offerings included a $1.3 million toaster.

The Burned Bread Toaster apparently gives you breakfast with a side of Banksy – purportedly burning in Banksy prints into your toast. Retailing for $1,370,000 the site says it’s unclear how many different prints the cinder block styled appliance can create “so you could get something like Balloon Girl… or a squiggle.”

Banksy Art Toaster by ThinkGeek
One of ThinkGeek’s prank products for April Fools’ 2019 was a toaster that burns Banksy art on your toast. Credit: ThinkGeek

The sites other fictional merchandise includes the Bean Bag Onsie – a one piece garment with a bean bag attached to the bottom and the Roomby – a robot vaccum cleaner modeled on the Nintendo character Kirby.

In 2009, ThinkGeek’s prank product was a sleeping bag inspired by a scene in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, when Han Solo carves open the carcass of a Tauntaun to keep Luke Skywalker warm in the punishing sub-zero temperatures on planet Hoth. It turns out fans of the franchise were very interested in the non-existent item, which led ThinkGeek to create and sell the sleeping bag. Unfortunately, it is no longer available for purchase.

McPickle Sandwich, McNugget Singles and Shake Sauce

McDonalds had a trifecta of tricks up their sleeves with three different additions to their mock menu across their U.S., Canadian and Australian social media accounts.

The Australian version was the McPickle – a sandwich filled with “flavoursome pickles layered between melted cheese, ketchup sauce and toasted sesame seed buns.”

Judging by the comments on their Instagram post, this one had several takers who were sorely disappointed the pickle preparation was just a put-on.

In the U.S. it was “a sweet new way to dip” called Shake Sauce – sauce containers filled with different flavours of milkshake.

The prank had people divided — with some calling the very suggestion disgusting, while others admitted to the occasional dipping of a fry in their McFlurry.

On the Canadian side – McDonalds pranked customers with McNugget Singles – a singular chicken McNugget in its own tiny paper box. The tweet was followed up with a cheeky reveal asking “Like you could ever only eat just one?”

St. Louis two-pound wing

On the opposite end of McDonald’s prank mini-meal is the St. Louis Bar and Grill two-pound wing.

“Finally, a wing you can eat with a knife and fork!” exclaims the flyer advertising a single wing weighing two pounds.

The giant wing sells for $14.99 and comes with some conditions including a restriction to one order per table “due to table sizes.”

St. Louis Bar and Grill two pound wing
St. Louis Bar and Grill introduces a fictional menu item – the two pound wing – on April Fools’ 2019. Credit: St. Louis Bar and Grill

Tom Brady’s trolling

This next one isn’t a company but he’s certainly made enough waves to deserve a mention.

NFL superstar Tom Brady turned troll on April Fools’, creating a Twitter account only to tweet that he was retiring.

 

The post was retweeted 25,000 times but it doesn’t look like too many people fell for it. Most of the responses welcomed the Patriots quarterback to the platform and laughed along with him.

 

About an hour later he gave up the rouse, but not before racking up over 160,000 followers in just a few hours.