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Newsletter #1059: The “Fake” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

We’ve gotten used to the onslaught of fake announcements, fake products, and fake news that come from big brands around every April Fools. Companies just can’t seem to help themselves — and all of the publicity that follows these stunts certainly helps. People like to be surprised, they like mystery, and they appreciate clever ideas.

But not everyone waits for April Fools to use this to their advantage. Here are three extraordinary examples:

1. Fake village
2. Fake signs
3. Fake toys
4. Check it out: Fake Name Generator

1. Fake village

Hogeweyk is a gated village made especially for elderly patients with alzheimer’s and dementia. But instead of a traditional retirement community or nursing home, it’s designed to look and feel like a real town. They have a park, a bar, a theater, a restaurant, and a grocery store. And although they’re under constant supervision of staff, the patients can feel independent by doing their own shopping and having freedom to roam the village. The staff act as cashiers, post-office clerks, bartenders, and other regular occupations throughout the town. If someone asks, staff will tell them the truth about their care facility. But if patients talk about inaccurate memories from the past, the staff won’t correct them, letting them live life on their own terms.

The lesson: It might sound like science fiction, but sometimes it takes radical ideas like these to come up with new and improved solutions.

Learn more: Twisted Sifter

2. Fake signs

Jeff Wysaski is a comedian famous for planting fake signage in everyday places. His work ranges from fake “forms of payment” signs on gas station doors, including “MasterCarp” and “Several Bowls of Soup,” to fake medical brochures about Donald Trump placed in a doctor’s office. Each joke is subtle at first glance and designed to look exactly like the real thing. If you’re not paying attention, you’d walk right by it.

The lesson: These jokes land because of Jeff’s attention to detail in everyday objects. The signs are carefully designed to look just like the real thing so that when you finally notice it, it catches you off guard.

Learn more: Obvious Plant

3. Fake toys

Rethink, a Canadian agency, partnered with Arrowhead Mills to hand out free boxes of cereal with a toy car inside to college students on campus. Outside the box, the toy cars looked like Hot Wheels, but when students opened them, they found smashed, melted, and burned cars. They were actually a PSA against drunk driving to share the message that just because you slept, doesn’t mean you slept off dangerous blood alcohol levels.

The lesson: The cereal got the message to students with the right timing. The packaging made an impact because of its element of surprise. And the toy sticks around as a tangible reminder of the PSA.

Learn more: Adweek

4. Check it out: Fake Name Generator

We won’t ask questions about why you need a fake identity, Mr. Steven E. Newkirk. But just in case, this service will give you more than a name, it also generates a fake address, birthday, credit card, employment, and a lot more.

Check it out: Fake Name Generator

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  1. Molly October 25, 2015 at 8:15 am #

    I’m not sure how to feel about that fake village. It seems like a cool idea, but at the same time it seems kind of weird and deceitful… I guess if the patients (residents?) are happy, that’s all that really matters in the end, right?

  2. Sarah October 29, 2015 at 5:00 pm #

    I like the idea Molly :-) My dad had early onset dementia and it was very distressing for him to feel like he couldn’t function in society anymore. I think it would be much nicer to live in a village with shops, etc, than in a traditional dreary nursing home for dementia patients.

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