Prank Candles' mail order prank joined other viral sensations like Ship Your Enemies Glitter aimed at practical jokers.
April, 1, 2015 may prove to be one of the most revolutionary April Fool’s Days in history as a wave of new gag gifts and pranking services spurred by crowdfunding and the diabolically clever mind of the internet gained media attention leading up to what may become known as the best April Fools Day Ever. Some of the classics like the whoopee cushion, hot pepper gum and joy buzzer have been around for over a century and literally sold billions of units worldwide. That sales success is what the creators of such wicked startups like “Ship Your Enemies Glitter,” “Prank Candles” and “D*cks by Mail” were dreaming about when they marketed their often amazingly clever and severely annoying tools of the trade to all of the pranksters celebrating the holiday appropriately.
In January of that year, social media blew up with the news of Ship Your Enemies Glitter, a company that promises to do just that. For $10, the company sends an envelope of what is sometimes referred to as “herpes of the craft world” – an ounce of loose metallic glitter, guaranteed to be lodged in the recipient’s carpet fibers for years to come. The idea came from a 22-year old Australian SEO expert (search engine optimization) who came up with the idea, launched the website, shipped around 2,000 orders, and then sold the company for a quick $85,000 – all in about a week.
For the prankster not interested in abusing the postal system, there’s always the olfactory senses. WTF Prank Candles, priced at $12, look like well-packaged artisan gift candles. And indeed, when the unsuspecting recipient opens the package, the attractive candles smell just like apple pie, baby powder, fresh forest pine and other scents. But within a few hours of lighting, the outer layer of decoy wax burns off, and the room instead fills with the eye-watering stench of things like “Baby Diaper,” “Skunk Ass,” and “Sweaty Gym Socks”. The company launched leading into the historic holiday but orders flooded in, from individuals as well as large scale corporate buyers looking to liven up their events and retreats.
“It basically started as a dare,” explained 27-year old WTF Candles creator Tyler Ward. Ward already runs a successful company called Giddy, which he launched with several friends while still in college. The company creates a unique hand balm for rock climbers and has received rave reviews from international climbing magazines. “There’s a lot of crossover between candles and skin care companies, because we use a lot of the same ingredients like oils and wax. I was at a trade convention and this guy claimed he could make a candle with any scent possible, so one night in the bar I dared him to make fart smell. It was the most awful thing I’ve ever smelled. But I have to credit my brother, Mark, always a total joker, for coming up with the pranker application.”
And then there’s a pair of notorious companies launched within days of each other, D*cks by Mail and Ship a Bag of D*cks. They each take the well-worn insult, “Go eat a bag of d*cks,” literally by shipping out a package of penis-shaped gummy candies. The latter company competes with the original on price - $12 versus $15 to send a package of sugar willies - as well as innovation. For $1 more, the company will add… yes – a handful of glitter to the package for an April Fool’s double-whammy.