By Gina Cherelus/Reuters/ New York
Bogus ad campaigns, a failed prank by Google, Ivy League football robots and an attempt at humour on the fraught presidential campaign trail competed for attention in the US yesterday, 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.
“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.
“Well, it looks like we pranked ourselves this year. Due to a bug, the Mic Drop feature inadvertently caused more headaches than laughs,” Google said in a Gmail blog post after its help forum filled with complaints.
“We’re truly sorry. The feature has been turned off. If you are still seeing it, please reload your Gmail page.”
The Gmail blog said the initial idea was to allow users to “have the last word on any e-mail.”
“Everyone will get your message, but that’s the last you’ll ever hear about it. Yes, even if folks try to respond, you won’t see it.”
Republican presidential candidate and US 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.
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