Filed under: Bullshit Detector Watch, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Media Pranks, Prank News, Pranksters, Satire
Apparently, it can be difficult to distinguish satire of California startup culture’s frivolity from the real thing, even when it’s combined with the most tried-and-true prankster tropes. Perhaps the oddest thing about Elliot Glass and Ben Becker’s “Uber for Poop” prank is that the app itself isn’t real. It’s hardly surprising that the tech media picked it up with no gloves.
“How a Fake Dog Poop App Fooled the Media”
by Zach Schonfeld
July 29, 2016
Pooper, the bold new app that markets itself as an Uber for dogshit, was nothing but dogshit all along.
Well, pretty clever dogshit: What appeared to be an outrageously inessential poop-disrupting start-up was really—of course—”an art project that satirizes our app-obsessed world.”
What’s more surprising is that it worked: Since its initial announcement, Pooper has secured attention from dozens of media outlets—most of whom were bamboozled into thinking it’s real—and piqued interest from investors. Pooper also intrigued a bunch of eager would-be users, who (if the app were real, which it is not) would be able to summon nearby strangers to scoop up dog turds with the push of a button.
“We’ve gotten hundreds of sign-ups,” claims Ben Becker, who devised the hoax with a friend, Elliot Glass. “People have been signing up to be both poopers and scoopers.”
Becker, a creative director in the advertising world, and Glass, a designer and web developer in Los Angeles, hatched the idea this past winter during a discussion about navel-gazing startup culture. “We wanted to begin a project that reflected the state of technology—specifically apps,” says Becker in a phone interview. “Taking the visual signifiers and language and the entire world and inhabiting it, inserting an absurd purpose for it. In this case, that would be dog poop.” Read more.