Colgate’s April Fools’ Day gag makes international impression

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In true Colgate fashion, the humor was biting at times and there were very few gaps, as the university’s April Fools’ Day gag to open a new dental school made quite an impression. The (story and video) made the international media smile, and by the end of the day one thing was clear: with or without a dental school, Colgate is clearly on the cusp of something great.

Time magazine included Colgate in its roundup of the best April Fools’ day pranks, writing: “After being confused with the toothpaste company for years, Colgate University opens a Graduate School of Dentistry.” In that story, Colgate was in great company with national brands including Southwest Airlines (offering trips to Mars), and Virgin America (with a personal climate-control feature on planes).

The Telegraph of London also included Colgate’s among the best jokes of the year, along with a “snackaging” innovation from Dominoes Pizza and a new Paperscent product from Amazon that claimed to bring the smell of real books to the Kindle.

And the Christian Science Monitor ran this headline: “Best April Fools’ Day gags, from Roku Watches to Colgate dental school.”

The video on YouTube has now surpassed 19,000 views, and the story caused spikes in traffic to Colgate’s Facebook and Twitter pages, and to Colgate’s home page.

Throughout the day, while some readers confessed to having fallen for the polished story, others spit right back with jokes of their own.

An anonymous prankster identified as Pearl E. White faxed a million-dollar pledge to the office of advancement.

Biology professor Ken Belanger posted this comment: “Finally … we don’t have to explain why we’re a “University”!!! I was really getting tired of that drill. Filling in those gaps for prospective students and candidates who might brush us away. I’m alright with this … as long as we don’t lose our floss-ophy department!”

Nazma Muhammad-Rosado ’96 posted on Twitter: “Colgate takes great Aim on April Fools’ Day. Nice Close-Up on a fun, brilliant place.”