Philippine takoyaki restaurant admits truth behind viral tattoo prank

Estimated read time 3 min read

Tattoo prank “victim” Ramil Albano (right) and Taragis owner Carl Quion.

A takoyaki restaurant in the Philippines received fresh criticism from netizens after it admitted that its viral April Fools’ tattoo prank was indeed a “marketing stunt”.

In a video on Saturday (April 6), Taragis owner Carl Quion apologized to the public, saying in Filipino, “Yes, I lied to all of you and I want to apologize.”

“We brought you along this big marketing stunt with different kinds of emotions, and discussions,” Quion said in Filipino in the 11-minute long video posted on the Taragis Facebook page. He explained how the stunt was planned with prank “victim” Ramil Albano and the tattoo artist. He also shared screenshots of his conversation with Albano, who said he wanted to do the challenge for his son with Down Syndrome.

“I want to say the words, ‘thank you,’ and ‘forgive me.’ The only person who can do this is someone willing to sacrifice. A person who can bet everything,” Quion said.

The apology didn’t appear to assuage the ire of many netizens, who criticized Quion and his restaurant for lying to the public and playing with their emotions with a marketing stunt. Others called for a boycott of Taragis.

“Any business that does this deserves neither understanding not patronage,” a netizen said on X, saying that the restaurant stunt should be “penalized severely if not outright declared unlawful” for preying on the people’s emotions.

Other netizens called the stunt “downright fraud”, “cheap and badly planned PR stunt” and branded Quion a “scammer” who took advantage of a father with a special needs son.

However, other commenters defended Quion, saying the “prank” managed to raise funds for Albano and his family. Others also praised the restaurateur for admitting the truth and for carrying out the prank. Quion previously released a video saying he had given P100,000 to the tattooed fan.

How did it happen?

The fiasco started on April 1 after the restaurant posted on its Facebook page that it would give P100,000 to the first person who would have the shop’s logo tattooed on their forehead. Shortly after the now-deleted post, a netizen called Ramil Albano said in the comments that he has done the challenge. Taragis then went out to point that the so-called challenge was only an April Fool’s joke as stated in the fine print and that it was not responsible for the public’s action.

This triggered a wave of criticism against Taragis, and also an outpouring of support for Albano. Many brands and netizens have since offered to help him, including a shop that offered to give him a P100,000 reward.

However, not everyone was convinced. One social media user pointed out that it smelled like a prank because it took Albano within an hour to respond to Taragis’ challenge. She said that the tattoo on Albano’s forehead also didn’t look fresh or swollen, and that it was impossible for Albano to have read the post, then travelled to the tattoo artist’s shop, got the design ready, and had the tattoo completed in less than an hour. She also pointed out that Taragis deleted her original comment on the matter.

Undated photos also surfaced on social media showing the Taragis owner and a younger-looking Albano walking together, leading some to conclude that they have known each other before the prank. ICA/Expat Media

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