Bryan and the Great “International Male” Prank
For now, know that it all began with this: a fake International Male letter.
And now… the recap:
Bryan was out of the office on a Friday a few weeks back and Allison, following a lengthy discussion with Jane about cheesy clothing catalogs, decided she would craft a (highly professional-looking) fake letter from International Male (one of said cheesy catalogs) and address it to Bryan, claiming that his (imaginary) order wasn’t able to be fulfilled with the white mink fur coat he had ordered but that he would be given a store credit of over $600.
The letter offered suggestions for what he might want to purchase based on his (imaginary) customer purchasing profile and helpfully included thumbnail images of linen caftans and other ridiculous options. She went the extra mile and printed an equally sharp-looking envelope with the International Male logo and return address. It was a joy! How should we deliver this fantastic looking letter, we wondered?
Now, Bryan has a thing about ordering hats – it happens a lot. And on that Friday he had a number of packages stacked on his desk, awaiting his return on Monday. So we had this letter and his stack of boxes, and the next step seemed so natural – why not stash the letter in one of the boxes? It’ll be a great surprise and we’ll all have a laugh.
So we flipped one of the boxes over, cut a slot in the tape and pushed the letter inside before resealing it and adding it back to his stack. How proud we were of ourselves!
The following Monday Bryan arrived and cut through his stack of boxes. When he landed on the one with the letter, he picked it up and read through it with mild bewilderment. What? How did this get in the box? And we, being the curious bunch we are, huddled around to find out what the deal was. Was it legit? Had someone used Bryan’s credit card to order from International Male? He checked his account and determined that no, no one had placed an order there.
Bryan found the International Male website and laughed, exclaiming that this must have been some kind of in-joke perpetrated by the store he had ordered hats from. The rest of us were unsure – “Dude, I dunno…that letter looks pretty legit!” You should call them and find out if you really have a credit, we persisted. But no, Bryan was sure it was a joke created by the hat store, and so he wrote them a quick email saying he’d had a laugh and that he was bummed about not getting the fur coat.
At this point the joke might’ve died, but I felt that there was more to be milked from this opportunity. We discussed details with a few folks over lunch and soon had a new plan – we’d spoof an email from the hat company and claim that the credit was, in fact, real. Here is the reply email that we sent from the faked address:
> hey, thanks for gettin back on that. i know, it’s ridiculous, but those cats
> are serious. basically, they approached us because they were trying to get
> into a different demographic or whatever, trying to get new interest for the
> stuff that they were sellin and wanted to get in good with some of our
> customers. we were against it because it obviously seemed like a bad fit, but
> they offered up a lot of cash to just make contact with some of our better
> customers and offer them credit at their store. so, you being one of those
> customers we thought it can’t hurt much because you guys can make the choice
> on whether you want to cash in or not. i mean, it probably seems kinda crazy
> so we told them they could only do a pack in with our stuff and that we
> wouldn’t be releasing names or personal info, so there you have it – you got a
> letter with store credit. take advantage or not, but there’s enough crazy shit
> on there to maybe make it worth it. get in touch with them at that number
> (800-293-9333 i think) with an order and they should make good. hit me back
> on this email if you have more questions.
When Bryan got our email, he turned to Allison and said “Remember that letter that I got in the package? I think it’s real!”, at which point we all again huddled around and laughed and debated about what he might do with his credit. After the excitement died down, Bryan wrote another email in reply to the one sent from the faked address:
>Hahaha, wait wait. So that credit is real?? That’s ridiculous. I thought that
>was a total joke letter you all put in to mess with me. I got caught
>looking at the letter at work and all my friends were clowning on me.
At this point we had him on the hook and the gears started turning – where do we take it next? We had originally wanted him to call International Male and ask about his credit, at which point they would probably say they didn’t have such an offer and hang up on him, causing us all to fall about laughing like miscreant devils. But now we wanted to make the payoff even bigger.
If we worded things correctly, we thought we might get away with trying to fake the International Male call center and have him actually place an order. We worked out the logistics and were a day away from launching the next layer when our collective workload increased and our thought-powers were consumed with things other than playing pranks on Bryan.
Some days passed, and after another discussion between Allison and I we decided the perfect end game: we’d “cash out” Bryan’s (fake) credit and actually order him something directly from International Male and have it delivered to the office, complete with gift message letting him in on the joke. We chose the perfect item and sent this email from our fake address:
> sorry this is getting to you late, but we had to clean up a little with this
> international male thing. basically, we sent out a few letters as jokes but
> the credit was real and we confused a bunch of dudes (obviously). we didn’t
> want to make it a big thing and have to come out and explain the whole deal,
> so we took it on ourselves to just close out our relationship with them and
> cashed in the credits on behalf of the few that we sent letters to. no
> worries, none of your guys information changed hands – we just wanted to kill
> the deal before things got any weirder with them. keep a lookout though, you
> should b
e seeing some choice product from them in the next few days. again,
> sorry about the hassle.
Upon recieving the latest response, Bryan clued us all into the details and we all crowded around to debate whether or not the email meant he was going to be getting something delivered personally or if the hat store was going to host some particularly ironic International Male offerings on their website. It was a beautiful moment. He sent this final email in response:
> Lol. No need to be sorry. I thought the letter was awesome.
There was nothing left to do but wait and tent our fingers in giddy, Mr. Burns-like anticipation. The payoff came today with the arrival and opening of the International Male package.
The package arrives…