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April Fools' pranks include football robots, black eye for Google, electric paddle

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bogus ad campaigns, a failed prank by Google, Ivy League football robots and an attempt at humor on the fraught presidential campaign trail competed for attention in the United States on Friday, traditionally a day of hoaxes ...

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A group of canoe outfitters announced they had formed a consortium to produce and sell "The Original Ely Electric Paddle", created by mounting a small, but powerful and nearly silent battery-powered trolling motor to the blade of a canoe paddle. Submitted photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bogus ad campaigns, a failed prank by Google, Ivy League football robots and an attempt at humor on the fraught presidential campaign trail competed for attention in the United States on Friday, traditionally a day of hoaxes and spoofs.

The trick on April Fools' Day is to be outlandish yet somewhat plausible.

"It gets more and more challenging to stand out," said Rachael King, spokeswoman for ThirdLove, a lingerie maker that partnered with DogVacay, a pet sitting service, to unveil a fake line of dog brassieres.

The online campaign features photographs of dogs wearing bras and gazing off into the distance.

New Hampshire's Dartmouth College, which last year began using a robotic tackling dummy it called "MVP" in an effort to reduce the number of hits its players absorb during practice, said the robots would be used in games from next season.

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"In the future, we'll line up 11 MVPs and they'll compete in the games for us. It's a wonderful opportunity. Our players will execute their responsibilities by remote control," Head Football Coach Buddy Teevens said in a tongue-in-cheek video. The film showed a robot failing at football drills including running stairs and catching passes.

Google unveiled a feature called "Mic Drop" that ended e-mails with an image of a minion character from the "Despicable Me" animated films and prevented recipients from replying.

The company quickly turned off the feature amid online criticism.

Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas also joined in, first tweeting that rival Donald Trump accepted his one-on-one debate invite and then saying the tweet was intended as a joke.

Another prank promoted "Jobs for Babies," a new service to help the diaper set find their dream jobs, said Tierney Oakes, a spokeswoman for Beck Media & Marketing, which created video for ZipRecruiter, an online job posting service.

Babies are shown pounding on computer keyboards and crawling out of elevators as the video explains particular skills: learning 10 times faster than an adult, quickly picking up languages and staying awake at all hours of the night.

The small town of Ely, located in northern Minnesota, continued it's rich heritage of April Fools' promotions with a news release announcing "The Original Ely Electric Paddle", a device intended to, "take all the work out of canoeing, opening the popular outdoor activity to millions of people who may have felt that a trip to the beautiful Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness was beyond their skill level or outside their comfort zone."

The release states, "Now canoeing enthusiasts can let the paddles do all the work while they sit back and read a favorite book, grab a nap or gaze around at the beautiful scenery found in the BWCAW."

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Ginny Nelson, President of the Ely Area Tourism Bureau also mentioned last year's prank in the release, โ€œThis might be the best thing to happen to Ely since our failed bid to secure the 2016 Summer Olympics,โ€ said Nelson, adding that with all the news about the Zika virus and construction delays in Rio, Olympic officials should be having strong regrets about turning down Elyโ€™s innovative effort to win the Summer Games. โ€œWe invite anyone whoโ€™s interested in having a virus-free vacation this summer, especially pregnant women and Olympic athletes, to make plans to come to Ely โ€“ and take up canoeing,โ€ Nelson added."

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