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The Pringle Man’s Name Is an Epic Wikipedia Hoax

The Pringles Man's mustache on the Wikipedia logo.
Wikipedia, Pringles

A tiny nugget of misinformation can change the course of history, often without anyone noticing. But not all misinformation is destructive. It turns out that the Pringles mascot’s name, which you’ll find in official advertisements and fun-fact listicles, originated as a cheap hoax.

Back in 2006, the mustachioed man on the Pringles can was simply known as “Mr. Pringle” or “the Pringles man.” He didn’t have a real name. So, a former Wikipedia editor known as Platypus Man decided to christen the mascot with a fairly simple prank.

Platypus Man asked his former roommate, Michael A. Wiseman, to help invent a fake name for the Pringles mascot. They landed on “Julius Pringles,” a derivation of Julius Peppers, who was playing football on TV at the time. The duo then added a single line of trivia to the Pringles Wikipedia page—“the man depicted in the Pringles logo is actually named Julius Pringles.”

Several years later, the lie became a reality. The name “Julius Pringles” was confirmed by the Pringles mascot in an animated Facebook video. According to Platypus Man, the lie only reached this point because of his status as a Wikipedia mod, plus a little luck.

But can we really trust Platypus Man, a stranger who claims to have intentionally spread misinformation? Did he and Michael A. Wiseman really invent the Pringles mascot’s name?

Well, we found the receipts. Wikipedia keeps track of all the revisions made on its website, and on December 4th of 2006, an editor named “Platypus222” made a small change to the Pringles trivia section. He introduced Julius Pringles to the world.

Wikipedia

This name, Julius Pringles, was completely made up. It had never been mentioned by the Pringles company or any third parties, so of course, it was added to Wikipedia without citation. One editor actually removed it from the website in February of 2007, but Platypus Man added it back with a note stating “citation needed.” It seems that Platypus Man only got away with this edit because he was a respected Wikipedia mod.

Both Platypus Man and Michael A. Wiseman made an effort to spread this misinformation outside of Wikipedia, which is one of the best ways to manufacture a “source.” They added Julius Pringles to Uncyclopedia, and even made a Facebook group celebrating the mascot’s “real” name. (Funny enough, one person bragged to the Facebook group that he already knew the Pringles mascot’s name. It goes to show just how quickly people will accept misinformation.)

After a few years of floating around the internet, the fake name was finally acknowledged by the Pringles company in 2013. And if you thought the beginning of the story was odd, this part is even weirder.

You know how Jimmy Fallon does musical sketches with his guests? Back in 2013, he brought on Ladysmith Black Mambazo, a South African vocal group, to sing a jokey song about eating Pringles. The sketch is no longer available through official channels, which makes sense, as it features Fallon singing in a questionable accent while wearing African clothing.

A year earlier, Kellogg acquired the Pringles company and pushed the brand to have a stronger social media presence. And part of that push included a response to Jimmy Fallon’s sketch. In a now-private Facebook video, the Pringle mascot makes fun of Jimmy Fallon’s dancing and acknowledges, for the first time ever, that his name is Julius Pringles. (For the record Platypus Man says that the Pringles video “was worse” than the Fallon segment.)

Suddenly, that fake name sitting on Wikipedia was real. No one could question its validity, because it was confirmed by the Pringles mascot.

The name “Julius Pringles” is now a solid piece of pop culture trivia. It was even a question on Jeopardy, which is insane, because it came from a Wikipedia prank.

We can learn a lot from the Julius Pringles hoax. A ton of people had the opportunity to dispute Platypus Man’s Wikipedia entry—it was seen by editors, journalists, and even people at the Pringles company. But these parties took the lie and turned it into a game of telephone, to the point that it eventually became fact.

Many other “facts” may be lies that we’ve blindly embraced. I just hope that they’re as funny and inconsequential as the Julius Pringles hoax.

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is the News Editor for Review Geek, where he covers breaking stories and manages the news team. He joined Life Savvy Media as a freelance writer in 2018 and has experience in a number of topics, including mobile hardware, audio, and IoT. Read Full Bio »