In April of 1996, Taco Bell announced in seven leading U.S. newspapers, including the New York Times, that the company had purchased the Liberty Bell to “reduce the country’s debt” and renamed it the “Taco Liberty Bell”. Outraged people were happy to hear that it was an April Fools Day prank.

Taco Liberty Bell

The advertisement as it appeared in the April 1, 1996 edition of The New York Times.

The Taco Liberty Bell was an April Fool’s Day joke played by fast food restaurant chain Taco Bell. The ad was created by Jon Parkinson and Harvey Hoffenberg who worked at Bozell, the Taco Bell advertising agency at the time. The ad went on to win several industry awards. On April 1, 1996, Taco Bell took out a full-page advertisement in seven leading U.S. newspapers announcing that the company had purchased the Liberty Bell to “reduce the country’s debt” and renamed it the “Taco Liberty Bell”. Thousands of people had called Taco Bell headquarters and the National Park Service before it was revealed at noon on April 1 that the story was a hoax. White Hous… Continue Reading (2 minute read)

11 thoughts on “In April of 1996, Taco Bell announced in seven leading U.S. newspapers, including the New York Times, that the company had purchased the Liberty Bell to “reduce the country’s debt” and renamed it the “Taco Liberty Bell”. Outraged people were happy to hear that it was an April Fools Day prank.”

  1. KeithSharpley

    What you probably don’t know from that story is at that time you could still touch the bell and the crack. Someone stuffed the crack with a bean burrito in solidarity with Taco Bell.

  2. MyWifeDontKnowItsMe

    The Press Secretary joined in and announced they sold the Lincoln Memorial to Ford and renamed it the “Lincoln-Mercury Memorial.”

    I miss the days when we could have fun in the political realm.

  3. radiobrat78

    I remember that. People were legit pissed.

  4. Stats_In_Center

    >*The campaign cost US$300,000 (equivalent to about $489,000 in 2019), but generated an estimated US$25,000,000 (equivalent to about $40,800,000 in 2019) worth of free publicity, with a sales increase exceeding US$1,000,000 (equivalent to about $1,600,000 in 2019) for the first two days in April.*

    Deception, good or bad, tend to pay off way more than it arguably should.

  5. wasabicheesecake

    I remember this as a current event.

  6. YoureGrammerIsWorsts

    Libertarians were enraged to learn it wasn’t real

  7. Sgfj98

    This reminded me of Idiocracy (2006)

    -Brought to you by Carl’s Jr

  8. BurritoSupremeBeing

    Could’ve been a Wheel of Fortune puzzle.

  9. mhol7597

    There was also a prank like that, where it was going around they were signing corporate sponsorship to pay for the war in Iraq….brought to you by Taco Bell.

  10. RedditMayne

    It’s funny because back in the 70s I remember each Taco Bell having a real Liberty Bell-type metal bell installed at the top of their store facades. (The store fronts were kind of designed to look like adobe-made California missions back then.)

  11. Temetnoscecubed

    I have always wondered about the Liberty Bell’s symbolic status.

    It really should be an emblem to shoddy workmanship. There are much larger bells in Europe that are way older than the Liberty bell that are still being used today.

    The Liberty bell cracked less than 60 years after it was made, how pathetic.

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