On April 1st, otherwise known as April Fool's Day, several brands decided to participate in the fun of pulling one over on their audiences by offering faux products. Two of the best were the Glass-Bottom Plane by Virgin Atlantic and The IKEA-like Vibrator, the GASM, from Lelo.
The World's First Glass-Bottom Plane from Virgin Atlantic
On April 1st, Virgin Atlantic announced on their site and blog that they are now offering flights to Scotland aboard the world's first plane with a transparent glass bottom.
The blog featured a first-person announcement from Mr. Branson of the new technology:
"I’m thrilled to announce that Virgin has created another world-first with the introduction of the technology required to produce the world’s first glass-bottomed plane. This technological innovation coincides with the start of Virgin Atlantic Airways’ first ever domestic service to Scotland.
In 1984 we started the wonderful airline that is Virgin Atlantic. I am incredibly proud of yet another aviation breakthrough which has been years in the making. I can’t wait to experience the first flight for myself with my family and other natural born explorers.
2012 was a year of celebrating what is brilliant about Great Britain and I’m excited that in 2013 we are continuing this uplifting spirit by developing an experience that will enable Little Red passengers to appreciate the beauty of the British landscape. And with an unrivalled view of Scotland I hope this gives Scottish tourism an even bigger boost.
We hope to trial the glass bottom technology with other Virgin airlines in time and have asked other Virgin companies to support this innovative trial and launch our new domestic Scottish route. This really is a team effort from all corners of Virgin." -- By Richard Branson. Founder of Virgin Group
They even phonied up partnerships for the supposed plane
The UK Mirror's broke the news that the announcement was a joke in a 3pm update of their own article about the plane.
The GASM Personal Vibrator from Lelo
Lelo took their own Swedish heritage into consideration when offering customers the Gasm, their latest green, flat-packed personal vibrator via their site and blog. The hilarious mock product included an instructive video, packaging, line art and instructions perfectly in keeping with the look and tone of the Swedish products offered by IKEA.
Our latest vibrator has a number of exciting features that include:
● Easy self-assembly in as little as 1 minute: put together your own pleasure, and save on production costs!
● On-call LELO representatives available to advise on proper assembly and use of your GӒSM – totally free, 24 hours a day!
● For a greener peace of mind, GӒSM is made from 100% recycled materials like compressed wood pulp and recycled rubber – in a lush shade of forest green!
● GӒSM is powered by a long-lasting battery fully rechargeable with manual hand-crank technology (Allen key included)
● Arrives in new flat-packaging solution for even more savings and reduced environmental impact
● Savings on assembly, shipping and storage go directly to customers, who can get GӒSM for USD 179.99
The announcement ended with the following:
"GӒSM is available from LELO.com and selected retailers starting within the coming week– visit us again soon and discover how helping the planet can be a pleasure! For any further inquiries or request an opportunity to interview the designers, please contact email@example.com"
Lelo's was so successful that people continue to request the Gasm from the brand.
Kudos to both brands for a great sense of humor and imagination.
Branson launches $25m climate bid
Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson launched the competition today in London alongside former US vice-president Al Gore.
A panel of judges will oversee the prize, including James Lovelock and Nasa scientist James Hansen.
Sir Richard said humankind must realise the scale of the crisis it faced.
"The Earth cannot wait 60 years," he said at the news conference. "I want a future for my children and my children's children. The clock is ticking."
He said if the planet was to survive, it was vital to find a way of getting rid of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.
He said he believed offering the $25m (£12.5m) Earth Challenge Prize was the best way of finding a solution.
Overseeing the innovations are James Hansen, the noted climate scientist and head of the Nasa Institute for Space Studies; the inventor of Gaia theory James Lovelock; UK environmentalist Sir Crispin Tickell; and Australian mammalogist and palaeontologist Tim Flannery.
They are looking for a method that will remove at least one billion tonnes of carbon per year from the atmosphere.
Al Gore, the former presidential candidate turned environmental campaigner, is also on the judging panel.
He said: "It's a challenge to the moral imagination of humankind to actually accept the reality of the situation we are now facing.
"We're not used to thinking of a planetary emergency, and there's nothing in our prior history as a species that equips us to imagine that we, as human beings, could actually be in the process of destroying the habitability of the planet for ourselves."
His recent film, An Inconvenient Truth, focused on global warming.
Stuart Haszeldine, professor of geology at the University of Edinburgh, commented: "Richard Branson is ahead of the pack in getting to grips with CO2 in the atmosphere.
"His decisive action places shame on the dithering of the UK Treasury, who will not let British power companies build CO2 capture plants, in case they are too expensive.
"I hope all other businesses, large and small, follow his lead. Yes, it's true Branson's company may benefit eventually, but we will all benefit, by a cleaner, greener planet. We all share the same atmosphere."
Carbon capture and storage is already a key area of research.
Scientists have been looking into removing the greenhouse gas from the atmosphere and storing it in oil and gas fields, injecting it deep into the ocean, or chemically transforming it into solids or liquids that are thermodynamically stable.
However, these methods have raised concerns, notably because of the possibility of leakage from the storage sites and fears that C02 dissolved in large quantities in the ocean might harm marine ecosystems.
Other scientists are also looking at schemes that might "scrub" the air of CO2, collecting the gas for safe storage; but many critics say the energy required to achieve this would make such an approach self-defeating.
Sir Richard Branson has already pledged to invest $3bn (£1.6bn) in profits from his travel firms, such as airline Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Trains, towards research into renewable energy technologies.