Earlier today I asked editors at the Puget Sound Business Journal if they had anything to say about being fooled by Ivar’s Seafood Restaurant, which put out a press release touting chowder vending machines with incredible Jetsons-era features. Editor George Erb sends this response:
We figure the story was online between 20 and 25 minutes.
How did we discover that we were duped? Give some credit to Curt Woodward, a former Associated Press reporter who is now a senior editor at Xconomy, the online news site for tech and life sciences. I had paused to tweet out some
of our online stories, and saw Woodward’s tweet expressing skepticism about our Ivar’s post. I called up our story, and realized almost immediately that we had fallen for a hoax. Ivar’s has a history of April Fool’s marketing
pranks. Plus, the press release was billed as an advancer for an announcement two days later, on Sunday — April 1. That really set off the alarm bells. We pulled down the post as fast as we could.
No question, we fell for an old-fashioned April Fool’s joke, with embarrassing results. We should have approached the Ivar’s press release with greater skepticism, and done more to double check the facts. Yes, critical thinking matters. It was an important lesson for us.
By the way, I often walk to Ivar’s takeout window for lunch. The restaurant taught us a hard lesson, but I still like their fish and chips.