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Corporate April Fools’ Day Pranks Gone Bad

Corporate pranks have been getting edgier with every April Fools’ Day—here are our favorites from years past.

Bad Apples

Hospitals in Cupertino were overrun April 1st, 2004 when Apple, Inc. decided to hand out fake “Free iPods” at its world headquarters that actually emitted a small electric current when activated. The shocking attempt at an April Fools’ Day prank amused the majority of the crowd, but for many teenagers with still-developing cardiovascular systems and one gentleman with a pacemaker, the jolt was too much and triggered a seizing bout of ventricular fibrillation. Thankfully, a majority of the victims survived, but Apple has since attempted to cover up any documentation of the incident, and has suppressed all “current event” reports.

Jungle Love

Back in April Fools’ Day 1999, when Amazon.com was a far cry from the globally dominating force it is today, the innovative commerce platform thought it would be fun to redirect customers searching for English language books to a strange, interactive jungle site (a reference to the Amazon river basin, the company’s namesake). All was well until a pair of nitwitted would-be hackers changed the redirect instead to lead to an online store for adult novelties. Amazon’s image was shattered in the minds of many innocent web searchers, but the short-lived “siliconejungle.com” experienced a record peak in sales.

Born Free

Though not a corporation, the Detroit Tigers (enthusiastic from their World Series appearance the year before) decided to ride into the new 2007 season by claiming 7 Bengal Tigers as new teammates an April Fools’ prank, near Comerica Park. With the tigers’ trainers and paramedics supervising the area, it is still a mystery how only 5 tigers ended up on display. 911 calls about two unaccompanied, prowling tigers were dismissed as a series of civilian “cry wolf” pranks (due to the date) until a devastating encounter at the Motown History Museum claimed three innocent lives, including one three-month-old infant. The tigers were put to sleep by an animal control officer that accused them of “having no soul,” and the Detroit Tigers denied all responsibility for the incident.

Of Course It Isn’t Libel! Our Lawyers said April Fools’ Day doesn’t count! (Though they did say that on April 1st…)

Well, we probably lost most of you when we made that Motown pun, but to those of you who haven’t figured it out yet, let us explain: none of these ever happened. They are complete and total creative fabrications—our April Fools’ Day prank to you! A prank about pranks—a prank within a prank, if you will.

You should have known better than to trust an article posted on April Fools’ Day—and congrats to all of you less-than-irreparably-gullible folks out there that caught us early on. Take a moment to congratulate yourselves. And happy pranking!

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