April Fools Hoaxes: Taco Bell Buys the Liberty BellRoundup: Talking About History
From a review of major April Fools hoaxes, published by National Geographic (March 31, 2004):
On April 1, 1996, readers in five major U.S. cities opened their newspapers to learn from a full page announcement that the Taco Bell Corporation had purchased the Liberty Bell from the U.S. government. The announcement reported that the company was relocating the historic bell from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Irvine, California. The move, the corporation said in the advertisement, was part of an"effort to help the national debt."
Hundreds of other newspapers and television shows ran stories related to a press release on the matter put out by Taco Bell's public relations firm, PainePR. Outraged citizens called the Liberty Bell National Historic Park in Philadelphia to express their disgust. A few hours later the public relations firm released another press announcement stating that the stunt was a hoax.
White House press secretary Mike McCurry got into the act when he remarked that the government would also be"selling the Lincoln Memorial to Ford Motor Company and renaming it the Lincoln-Mercury Memorial."
As a marketing ploy, the hoax was successful, PainePR said on their Web site. The firm says that more than 70 million Americans were exposed to the story, which resulted in a U.S. $500,000 sales increase for Taco Bell on April 1 and a $600,000 increase on April 2.
comments powered by Disqus
- Letters collection offers unique gimplse into ordeal of Australian aborigines
- War, More Than ISIS, Is Destroying Syria's Ancient Sites
- Pew Poll: Trust in government is at historic lows
- If "The Donald" Said It Happened, It Happened! And Don't You Forget It!
- Solved: the mystery of Britain’s Bronze Age mummies
- Anne Frank Faced Challenges Similar to Syrian Refugees, Richard Breitman Says
- Douglass North, Nobel Prize-winning economics historian, dies at 95
- Craig Shirley says Ted Cruz is right and the Huffington Post wrong about Ronald Reagan’s 1980 Presidential Campaign
- Mystery at Notre Dame: A priest-historian has been forced to back off a project promoting authentic Catholic education
- William & Mary launching a gay history project