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"Have you experienced everything already? Nope, you haven't!"

Invisible Hand Tours is a web-operated Finnish travel agency, offering rather exotic tailored trips for potential customers. Instead of your typical holiday packages the company offers "real life adventures" to locations in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, in which the holiday-goer assumes a role of an unemployed person, a graffiti artist, an enviromental activist or even a factory worker. The trip supposedly consists of a predetermined time living the everyday life of the role they have chosen in their "natural surroundings" and trying to survive typical daily routines and situations. All trips are custom tailored to fit the applicant. Have you seen The Game by David Fincher? It's not far off from what IHT is offering.

It's not like I have to tell you this, but the website and the (non-existing) firm are a joke.

Invisible Hand Tours is actually a hoax created by a bunch of people, including the guy who is also responsible for the infamous Etelä-Suomen Kerrostalokyttääjät website. Just like that previous prank, numerous people have taken the site seriously. At the time of writing a representative of IHT has already given an interview on a national Finnish radio station, naturally using a fake name. Yes, they fell for it. Judging by the way almost nobody caught on to the Kerrostalokyttääjät hoax no matter how obvious it is, this won't be the last time International Hand Tours will be in media spotlight as a legitimate company.

Vacations currently offered in http://www.invisibletours.com:

In case a plain old WWW page isn't enough for fooling the most sceptic and cynical urban dwellers, a bunch of printed advertisements have also been spread in public places around Helsinki.

The website is in fact quite convincing work. The agency's policies, rules for the customers and anecdotes from satisfied customers are all very much like what a real company would use, apart from the absurd concept the whole site is based on. Still, it's not like a thing like this was physically impossible to do in real life, and mankind has cerainly witnessed countless serious business ideas which have been far more ridiculous. So perhaps it shouldn't be too surprising to see so many individuals falling for this prank without any suspicions.

Me? I'm anxiously waiting to see what kind of practical joke the guys will come up with next...

Update: March 12, 2003

Well, here's a nice epilogue to this writeup.. Guess what - I was fooled as well. This wasn't a prank site created just for kicks, but covert advertising for a Finnish movie called Nousukausi. The joke's on me I guess. :)

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