Posted on 16. Apr, 2012 by Brian Knox
I had intended to post this the first week of April, but Brandon beat me to the punch with an April Fool’s Day-themed blog post.
But at the same time, I didn’t want to wait another year to have to post this. (Mainly because I figured I’d forget about it.)
A newspaper in England, The Guardian, decided several years ago to have some fun with a regular special section in their paper called “Special Reports.” It was normally several pages that dealt with a single topic, and it proved popular with advertisers.
But it was also quite dull, apparently.
To liven things up, the man in charge of the Special Reports department came up with an idea for an April Fool’s Day joke. He came up with the fictitious country of “San Serriffe.” What started as a one-page report was eventually expanded to seven pages. They even got advertisers to play along.
The report was a parody of their normal special reports, but since it was written in the same style, many readers thought they were reading about a real country.
Here’s a description of the country’s geography:
According to the supplement, San Serriffe was an archipelago located in the Indian Ocean, north-east of the Seychelle Islands. It consisted of two primary islands, Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse. The capital, Bodoni, was located in the center of the larger island, Upper Caisse. The smaller island, Lower Caisse, had a swampy interior as well as a forested area, the Woj of Type (home of San Serriffe’s national bird, the Kwote).
Any “font nerds” or “grammar nerds” figured out the joke, yet?
Among the advertisements: Kodak ran an ad for a competition for the best photos of San Serriffe. Guiness beer ran an ad about the time that inhabitants of San Seriffe noticed the normally white head of the beer was black and the normally dark body was white. It was later determined that the farmers had sowed the barley seeds upside down.
The Guardian’s phone lines rang all day as readers wanted more information about this fascinating-sounding island. Travel agents and airlines made complaints to the editor saying their business had been disrupted by customers who refused to believe that the island did not exist.
The paper even made up bumper stickers that said “I’ve been to San Serriffe” along with T-shirts.
To this day, The Guardian’s April Fools joke of 1977 is widely considered to be the best newspaper April Fool’s Day joke ever. Read more about the joke here.
Anyone out there fall victim to a good April Fool’s Day joke, or pulled one, and care to share?