food businesses

Takoyaki shop admits April Fools’ tattoo prank a ‘marketing stunt’

Ivy Pedida

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Takoyaki shop admits April Fools’ tattoo prank a ‘marketing stunt’
Commenters on different social media platforms were quick to react to the video, criticizing shop owner Carl Quion for branding their stunt as a marketing strategy, and for fooling the public and using their emotions against them

Oo, nangsinungaling ako sa inyo, at gusto kong humingi ng tawad. (Yes, I lied to all of you, and I want to apologize.)”

In a video titled ‘Taragis the Revelation,’ posted by the Taragis Facebook page on Saturday, April 6, owner Carl Quion said his takoyaki restaurant’s April Fools’ tattoo prank, which had gone viral, was a planned “marketing stunt.”

In a now-deleted Facebook post from April 1, Taragis promised it would be give P100,000 to the first person who had their shop’s logo tattooed on their forehead. Social media users were able to identify the person who took the challenge, Ramil Albano, and brands and netizens have since offered to help the man.

Dinala namin kayo dito sa isang malaking marketing stunt na may iba’t-ibang klase ng emosyon, diskusyon. (We brought you along this big marketing stunt with different kinds of emotions, and discussions),” Quion said in the 11-minute long video, detailing how he planned the stunt, including asking his tattoo artist friend to find someone willing to tattoo his shop’s logo on his forehead.

Quion also shared screenshots of his conversation with Albano, who expressed his willingness to do the challenge for his son who has Down Syndrome.

The Taragis owner also laid out the supposed pros and cons of their stunt, highlighting how they helped other business owners by allowing them to ride the hype surrounding the controversial post. Quion added they were able to help Albano through the spirit of bayanihan. “Posible palang magbayanihan ang malalaking brand sa social media para lang sa isang tao. (It’s possible for big brands to be join hands on social media just for one person.)”

Gusto kong sabihin sa inyo ang salitang salamat, at salitang patawad. Ang tanging tao lamang na kayang gumawa nito ay willing magsakripisyo. ‘Yung taong kayang itaya ang lahat. (I want to say the words, ‘thank you,’ and ‘forgive me.’ The only person who can do this is someone willing to sacrifice. A person who can bet everything,)” Quion added, imploring netizens to understand where they are coming from, and likening their stunt to a magic trick, where everything is scripted.

For the clout?

Commenters on various social media platforms were quick to react to the video, criticizing Quion for branding their stunt a marketing strategy, and for fooling the public and using their emotions against them.

One X user said the takoyaki restaurant’s stunt should be “penalized severely if not outright declared unlawful” for preying on the people’s emotions. “Any business that does this deserves neither understanding not patronage.”

“Downright pangloloko na talaga ginawa nila. Nung nag-video na drama eme pa sila, ang cringey na noon (What they did was downright fraud. When they made a dramatic video, it was cringey,)” one X user posted.

“All that mental gymnastics for a fucking takoyaki?” another X user posted. “Scammer ka, not some marketing bullshit you pretend to be.”

One X user described the stunt as a “cheap and badly planned PR stunt,” adding that because of the viral prank post, the brand will now be associated with dishonesty and deceit.

Other users in the comments pointed out that the “marketing strategy” everyone was praising took advantage of Albano needing to support his child.

Move on na tayo

Some commenters came to Quion’s defense, however, echoing his sentiment that the “prank” managed to solicit help for Albano and his family. Others praised Quion for telling the truth, using his platform to help those in need, and for making a viral marketing stunt.

Brands tend to take advantage of the yearly April Fools celebration by having different gimmicks and marketing materials to draw attention to themselves and increase sales.

A thread by X user Vincent Quilop highlighted an example of a well-executed stunt that brought no harm to the brand and its customers.

With Taragis admitting the prank was elaborately planned from the beginning, netizens are now more wary of similar stunts, warning others to always check the information they see online. For some, businesses that resort to “pranks” like these should never receive any form of support or clout.

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Ivy Pedida

Ivy Pedida is a digital communications specialist for Rappler’s Digital Communications arm. A shameless bandwagoner, she likes everything pop culture, whether it be the latest anime or another HBO hit. She is a furmom to five cats and one dog.