Every year, Cards Against Humanity gives away a limited edition "PAX Pack" to attendees at PAX East, making the giveaway as surprisingly awesome as they can. This year, they outdid themselves with an epic prank that involved created an elaborate, fake "extreme oatmeal" brand called "PWNMEAL" (complete with a long-running, perfectly obnoxious marketing campaign), producing three tons' worth of FDA-approved instant oatmeal packs, and hiding the PAX Packs inside these packets and waiting for the attendees to discover the truth.
Max Temkin's lavishly illustrated, gleeful recounting of the prank might just be the most triumphant story of a business doing what is most awesome because doing awesome things is awesome that you will read all year.
There were a few pieces of the oatmeal opening experience that became really important to us.
First, the joke just wouldn’t have been as funny if it was some kind of dumb viral marketing; we wanted to really create confusion as to what exactly PWNMEAL was. My dream to create the illusion of an extreme oatmeal brand so convincingly that people would throw their packets out, and then go digging in the trash for them later when they realized that there were Cards Against Humanity cards inside.
Second, we wanted to heighten the surprise of finding the cards in the oatmeal as much as possible, which meant we had to really sell the idea of an extreme gaming oatmeal. We didn’t want anyone to know that PWNMEAL was associated with Cards Against Humanity until they opened it up.
Third, I wanted the cards to come loose in the oatmeal, covered in oat dust - I didn’t want them in a foil pack or any packaging. It was just funnier that way.
Finally, we had to get these packets into the U.S. with FDA approval, and they had to fit into the convention center’s strict rules that ban giving away food. This was a big design challenge that we solved by shipping empty packets to the U.S. and then filling them with less than once ounce each of good old domestic U.S.A. oatmeal. In total, we ordered three tons of quick rolled oats and created about 150,000 packets of instant oatmeal.
Thanks to everyone who came out for last night’s final London event on the UK Walkaway tour, at Pages of Hackney with Olivia Sudjic; today I’m heading to Waterstones Liverpool One for an event with Dr Chris Pak, followed by a stop tomorrow at Waterstones in Birmingham and then wrapping up in the UK with […]
Last night’s sold-out Walkaway tour event with Laurie Penny at Waterstones Tottenham Court Road was spectacular (and not just because they had some really good whisky behind the bar), and the action continues today with a conversation with Olivia Sudjic tonight at Pages of Hackney, where we’ll be discussing her novel Sympathy as well as […]
The following is an excerpt from my new book, The PrEP Diaries: A Safe(r) Sex Memoir, now available from Lethe Press. The book chronicles the before-and-after of using Truvada PrEP, a recent breakthrough in HIV prevention that has prompted a new sexual revolution–except that most individuals have no idea it exists. Through sex positivity, explicit openness, and fun, I hope to make many more people aware that PrEP is an option for them in not just preventing HIV but having a better, braver sex life.
Boasting an IPX6 waterproof rating, the Trakk Bullet Ultra Compact Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker resists dust and heavy rainfall. It’s currently available in the Boing Boing Store.The Trakk Bullet offers the same wireless convenience as other portable speakers, but few are built as tough as this one. Its utilitarian construction is designed to be a totally low-maintenance […]
The Ticwatch 2 Active Smartwatch is a simpler take on an active wearable that raised over $2m dollars on Kickstarter and is currently offered in the Boing Boing Store.Somewhere in between the single-day battery life and platform-specificity of the Apple Watch and Android Wear devices, there exists the Ticwatch. Instead of trying to shoehorn another […]
Loot Crate is a subscription service that delivers a box of curated pop culture goods to your doorstep. To sample their geeky wares, you can order a single mystery box exclusively from the Boing Boing Store.Each month Loot Crate sends you 6-7 unique items and apparel, including collectibles, books, and t-shirts. Pulling inspiration from all […]