April Fool pranks pulled on public around the world

Newspapers, companies and celebrities take fun seriously with humorous hoaxes

NEW YORK• The age-old tradition of hoaxing on the first day of April was alive and well yesterday in newspapers and bogus ad campaigns hawking everything from dog brassieres to employment agencies for babies.

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

The trick is to be outlandish and plausible at the same time: The online campaign for the bras, which promise to create "a smooth lifted shape that is beautiful as a tennis ball", features photographs of canines wearing brassieres and gazing off into the distance.

Britain's Thames Valley Police launched a recruitment video for its new feline division, set up to harness cats' curiosity and gift of nine lives to fight crime, although they were to be kept apart from the dog division.

Celebrity shenanigans on YouTube figured prominently in the mix this year.

Rapper Snoop Dogg used the video service to introduce a fake "SnoopaVision" virtual reality experience, said Ms Lauren Verrusio, spokeswoman for Google, which owns YouTube.

Another prank promoted "Jobs for Babies", a bogus new service to help babies find their dream jobs, said Ms Tierney Oakes, a spokesman for Beck Media & Marketing, which created the stunt for ZipRecruiter, an online job posting service.

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

"We want to help babies stand on their own two feet," the video said.

Britain's papers, traditional bastions of the light-hearted annual prank, concentrated on the country's June 23 referendum on membership of the European Union (EU) to trick unsuspecting victims.

The Daily Telegraph warned that France and Germany were to gang up and boot England out of this summer's Euro 2016 football tournament if they voted to leave the EU, punishing them for a lack of solidarity.

In France, La Tribune reported that taxi firm Uber was to launch a new environmentally-friendly service in which the passenger is carried on the driver's back in a basket.

In China, English-language website The Beijinger claimed that Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg had accepted a "green card" from China and was moving to the capital after a high-profile visit to Beijing last month.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE- PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 02, 2016, with the headline 'April Fool pranks pulled on public around the world'. Print Edition | Subscribe