Remember that Miracle Machine we told you about? The one you can make wine with on your kitchen counter for $499? It was a hoax.
The device that 7,000 people signed up to get more information on has its own website, an Instagram account and a Twitter handle. But it’s really just a piece of wood.
So why create an elaborate lie about a machine that doesn’t exist? For charity, apparently.
“We felt that in today’s marketplace, we needed to disrupt to break through,” said Scott Beaudoin, global practice director at MSL, a communications company that took on the nonprofit Wine to Water as a pro bono project after seeing the group highlighted on “CNN Heroes."
“Worthy news sometimes isn’t news at all, so we thought we needed to do something disruptive to get people to pay attention,” he said.
Kevin Boyer and Philip James of CustomeVine, who knowingly put their wine afficionado reputations behind the fictitious device that MSL devised, say they were interested in trying to bring awareness to the nonprofit that provides people around the world with clean water.
“I would do it 100 times over again,” said Boyer. “Not the misleading and purposely being facetious, but if it saves one extra life, I’d do it again."
After talking to Wine to Water CEO Allen Peterson, MSL was convinced they needed to do something truly different to get people’s attention. That’s when they came up with the idea to flip Wine to Water around with a miracle machine that turns water into wine.
“The Miracle Machine, Wine to Water campaign has focused attention on the world’s water crisis,” said Peterson. “We took the risk with this creative approach, believing that most people will respond to help the nearly 1 billion people on earth who don’t have the simple gift of life sustaining water. This is everyone’s chance to be part of a miracle - clean water.”
Beaudoin said they never intended to create a real Kickstarter campaign for the machine or collect any money. But they never expected the machine to get the attention it received. The campaign has received some negative feedback, but Beaudoin says that’s just par for the course.
“We were shocked, extremely flabergasted at how quickly it took off,” said Boyer. “Philip and I don’t take lying or misrepresenting lightly. The wine world can be stuffy; to poke a little fun at it can be fun."
James and Boyer are asking the thousands of people who expressed interest in the fake device to donate money to Wine to Water by buying a commemorative bottle of ‘Miracle Machine’ wine that CustomVine has created for World Water Day.
Boyer says most of his friends and contacts have been supportive and reached out to say congrats, kudos and some have even donated money to the cause.
Beaudoin says it’s too soon to get a sense of how much money has been raised since the true campaign behind the Miracle Machine was revealed. MSL may sell the wooden piece it once called the Miracle Machine at a live auction with all proceeds going to Wine to Water.
“We’re hoping a celebrity will want it,” Beaudoin said.
Does this hoax make you want to donate to Wine to Water or just make you really angry? Let us know in the comments below.
[Updated March 13, 2014 at 9:44 p.m. to include comment from Wine to Water CEO Allen Peterson.]
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