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Pranks and Promotion, April Fools Day Commotion.

The ‘Prank’/Social experiment era is upon us. You can’t browse YouTube for more than two minutes before you stumble upon some fame craving Vlogger distressing the public in the name of humour.

There are so many attempts to infest our screens with sadistic cheer, that there is now even a market for ‘Pranks gone wrong’, some of which seem fatally close to the edge of humour. Surely it won’t be long until someone ‘pretends’ to scare the life out of the wrong person and ends up dead, or worse, as a result.

It does, however, raise some interesting questions concerning the law. Let’s take the, now famous, Vitalyzd for example, a man who prides himself on his harrowingly detailed pranks. In his “Chainsaw massacre prank” video, he sets up a super authentic torture scene depicting a limbless blood-stained victim strung up, intestines revealed, ablaze with slimy innards, struggling with the manic ferocity of ebbing life. Now luckily most victims-of the prank  just scream and run as the ‘fake’ torturer turns to pursue them, but it is dangerously easy to imagine a scenario where the ‘fight or flight’ response falls to the former and Vitalyzd becomes the whipping boy of an adrenaline spiked beating.

I wonder, how would it play out in court, if a prankster was so convincing that he provoked murder from his unknowing victim? After all, only last week aspiring UK joker Jack Jones had a gun cocked to his head,whilst pranking in the U.S (although the circumstances were not entirely the same).

The real issue, I think, is the affect these very real experiences have on the victims. We watch these pranks from the safety of hindsight, secure in the knowledge that ‘All’s well that ends okay’, but in the moment, these poor people are living through, like really living through, whatever situation the God-complex of the prankster decides to set into motion. There is nothing that can erase the memory of the fear felt at the time that that Chainsaw wielding madman really was trying to kill them. It’s all about perspective. It is not enough to say “It was all a joke” because that cannot undo the damage caused by distress. Well not entirely. That memory of absolute terror will live somewhere inside their subconscious forever, maybe seep into their dreams, maybe stop them from reacting to a real threat. 

Rationality cannot rewrite all that fear drenched horror etches into our brains. These pranks are no more ‘light-hearted’ jokes than Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison experiment, just without the academic intention. But, I digress.

This year it looks like everyone has embraced the true nature of the practical joke; sometimes self-deprecating, often satirical and just plain ridiculous!

Here are some of our favourites:

We have flying penguins, fresh from the BBC…

Let Netflix deliver some much needed advice


Play Pac-Man on Google maps!


Slice with sophistication using Samsung’s smart blade


Go back in time to 1999 with Amazon’s ‘New’ dashboard


And finally, The Motorola Selfie sticks: Wood and leather. It does look slightly Fifty Shades of S*** Twilight-fan-fictio, But in all honesty, I quite like it. Think it'd do well.


Leo Donnelly 

Ever wondered what would happen if you gave a half-crazed, semi-concussed, unstoppable maverick a platform to write about social media? Follow him @LeoAtSMF

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Pranks and Promotion, April Fools Day Commotion. Reviewed by Unknown on Thursday, April 02, 2015 Rating: 5
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