Yesterday was April Fools Day 2014. Pranks run rampant everywhere, from the home to big pranks by Google, NPR and others (see this Entertainment Weekly post for some of them). I sought to try to pull one off yesterday as well, and, by all appearances, it seemed to work…. Here is what I learned about a successful April Fools Prank….
Make It Plausible
You want to make a prank that is believable and that throws people off. Space Alien attacks and other similar things are just a tad unbelievable… So I developed my concept around something that people who know me could find believeable….I related it to Offbeat Travel.
Basics of My Prank
- Made it Travel Related
- Devised a “Unique and Offbeat Location”
- Conceived of a “scenario”
- Designed photos to match the scenario
- Got a couple of friends to “pitch in” support
- Added upon the scenario throughout the day
- Put in a few “glitches” that could help people catch the prank (if they looked carefully)
The Story and the Prank
My concept was that I had been given an award as an Offbeat Travel Blogger. The award came from the Mayor of a Town called Sloof Lirpa. Since the town name kind of sounded Scandinavian, I decided to put Sloof Lirpa in Norway. I Googled “Sloof Lirpa” sign post, but found nothing. Instead, I searched for Scandinavian Sign Posts and found the following sign photo:
I then Photoshopped the NEW town name of Sloof Lirpa onto the sign
Since it said “Old Norse” on the sign, this strengthened my “Town in Norway Story”.
Next, I needed some “proof” of the award. The story was plausible since many know I write all about offbeat backroads locations. So, I came up with the idea that the Mayor of Sloof Lirpa had sent this honor to me. I remembered that a few years ago I had visited the Mustard Museum (while it was still in Mt. Horeb, WI — also famous for its giant wooden trolls of Scandinavian Origin). While at the Mustard Museum I obtained a certificate “fake degree” from Poupon U. I found that photo and then again Photoshopped it….
Of course, the careful observer would notice the different colors of the font and the font itself is different. But most would glean over it…looks real enough.
For some flavor, I found a photo of a Norwegian town on a fjord and included that with the town name on it:
All of this was posted on Facebook (as follows)
Let the Embellishing Begin
My friend suggested that I add that I was going to be the judge of Sloof Lirpa’s “Shield Maiden Pageant” – this is Viking country – Norsemen – etc. So, a “Shield Maiden” is not unlikely. Further, we noted that this was some sort of promo tie-in with the History Channel’s “Vikings” series. Once again, a plausible story…
As well, I added that they also have a festival honoring the Giant Troll “Sloof Lirpa” and that there is a 20 foot tall wooden carving of him in the Town Square. I got this idea from my visit to Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin, the “Troll Capital.”
As questions came in on Facebook, such as “Is this an April Fools Joke?”, I would note that I already had my tickets…flying out of Cincinnati on “Viking Airlines” on April 31. And, of course, I had the photo with my “Official Certificate”. One person even asked if my wife was going with me and I let her know that she couldn’t because she couldn’t get the time off on such short notice. Note, if someone looked up Viking Airlines, they would see it is NOT a joke!
I had quite a few people, but the “Prank Signs” were there…. April 31 does not exist. “Sloof Lirpa” is April Fools spelled backwards.
The Giveaway – The Escape
Finally, as an “out”, at the end of the evening I posted the following, implying that I was “duped” and that it was an April Fools joke on me….. HAHA
Here is what I posted on ALL locations that I had shared the post:
This just in from Roadside America ( who apparently nominated me for this great honor): “Late-breaking development: The town of Sloof Lirpa has withdrawn its invitation to Sumoflam after realizing there was a translation error resulting in a misdirection of their mail. They were actually trying to honor “Malfomus”…” Yes, I have been asked to return the Viking Airlines ticket and am now deflated after what appears to have been a dastardly April Fools joke!!