A friend of ours is, amongst other things, a countryside ranger and on her patch is an old iron works, now a visitor centre. She decided to use today to get some publicity through an elaborate April Fools Day plot.
As well as being a ranger, she is also a graphic designer and she mocked up several bottles of Medlock Mineral Water, a new brand in the burgeoning bottled water market and supposedly taken from a spa at the old iron works.
There was an article about it in the local weekly paper. (Sorry, no link — the paper has only just round to using manual typewriters.) They had a photo of the bottle and another of a bloke dressed as a waiter with a bottle in one hand and a towel draped over his other arm.
“Medlock Mineral Water begins as rain and snow falling on the pristine peaks high above the picturesque Rocher Vale” a spokesperson was quoted. “Slowly filtered, the indisputable purity, uniquely balanced mineral composition and subtle flavour are the products of this unhurried journey.”
The article also quoted a journalist at monthly magazine, H2O called by the usual giveaway anagram name of Minera Lawret who said “Medlock seems to have captured the imaginations of some of London’s top restaurants with its unique infusion of Northern grit.”
So far so good, but they took the prank one step further by arranging a launch and a tasting this morning. Lots of people turned up and as they had only mocked up three bottles, there had be several dashed to the tap for a refill of Corporation pop.
It sounds a hoot as quite clearly many people there fell for hook, line etc. In fact, our friend began to panic that it was working too well and had to start hamming up the best by date — Noon, 1April 2005.
She also explained to the guests that, yes, it does contain Northern grit, but that it settles at the bottom of the glass — and people were checking them.
Then this bloke introduces himself as the owner of three local pubs and said that he wanted to order hundreds of bottles. At this point decided that things had gone too far and fessed up, wondering how he was going to react.
He was completely unfazed and obviously still had his business head on. “People like local products,” he said. “They sell really well.”
So now we’re thinking that maybe we need to get out on the moors this weekend and find a real spa. Complete with Northern grit.