Do You Remember These Classic April Fool’s Day Ads From Big Businesses?

April Fools Day Glasses & mustache with 1980s vibe

Ah, April Fool’s Day. For a jokester, today is the ultimate day to fool your friends. As the years have gone on, even big corporations like to get in on the fun. While you carefully scroll through the Internet today, as most of the jokes are now on social media, let’s go back to a time when companies would create elaborate tricks for their consumers on April 1st. This was before the Internet, so people couldn’t quickly double-check if ads were real or fake.

Popular Electronics magazine April 1955

Back in 1955, the magazine Popular Electronics ran an article about an exciting, new type of energy called Contra-Polar Energy. It was said to have been developed during World War II but was potentially going to be marketed to the general public. Basically, it would cause electrical devices to have the opposite effect that they normally do, such as making a lightbulb dark instead of light.

circa 1959: American film producer Mike Todd Jr (left) sits with Swiss inventor Hans Laube, who points to his 'Smell-O-Vision' machine, which produced smells in synchronization with action in a film. The device was used for director Jack Cardiff's 1960 film, 'The Scent of Mystery,' produced by Todd.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A decade later, the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) shared an interview with a so-called professor who invented “Smell-o-vision,” a way to share smells through the television. It was so convincing that they had viewers call in to see if they smelled anything and several confirmed that they smelled things like onions or coffee! Talk about a placebo effect.


In 1983, BMW got in on the fun and said that one of its engineers, Herr Blöhn, designed a sunroof that could be kept open in any weather, including rain and snow, without getting the consumer wet. It even worked in a car wash!

Theme Building LAX


In Los Angeles in 1992, airport executives planned a prank where they put an 85-foot-long yellow banner with 20-foot-high red letters that said “Welcome to Chicago” just in the sight line for arriving planes. People panicked that they were arriving at the wrong city and if you think about it, this one is kind of mean and was probably a huge pain for the stewards and stewardesses on each flight that day.

15th September 1960: The Liberty Bell at Independence Hall, where the US Constitution was written, the Declaration of Independence was accepted and where the Bell was rung to acclaim its adoption. With Taco Bell logo on it

Keystone Features/Getty Images

A few years later in 1996, Taco Bell had customers fooled that they purchased the iconic and historic Liberty Bell. Can you imagine? The announcement said, “In an effort to help the national debt, Taco Bell is pleased to announce that we have agreed to purchase the Liberty Bell, one of our country’s most historic treasures. It will now be called the ‘Taco Liberty Bell’ and will still be accessible to the American public for viewing. While some may find this controversial, we hope our move will prompt other corporations to take similar action to do their part to reduce the country’s debt.”

LONDON - DECEMBER 13: A Burger King sign restaurant December 13, 2002 in London. Diageo PLC, the world's largest liquor company, has finalized the sale of its chain of fast-food outlets to a private consortium led by Texas Pacific in a deal worth $1.5 billion USD.

Ian Waldie/Getty Images

Another fast food company tricked its customers in 1998. Burger King claimed they had a new Whopper designed specifically for left-handed people and took out huge ads to promote the “new” product that aimed to reduce spills of the burger’s contents.

Of course, there have been many April Fool’s Day jokes over the years and tons have come out today! Comment and let us know your favorite or one that tricked you.

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June 2023

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