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The epic tale of NY’s strangest digital hoaxer and artist

Sorry to scare you.

The Wrap

Once, the subway was reserved for proud brands like Dr. Zizmor and miracle weight-loss cures. So how did your commute become consumed by ads for Casper, Thinx, and Oscar? Digiday offers one simple answer – it’s cheap.

This Is Not an April Fool’s Joke, Really
If you haven’t been following the baffling, comic, and uniquely 21st tale of Zardulu (pictured above), we urge you to correct that oversight ASAP. First some background… You might recall Pizza Rat, the rodent sensation that took New York by storm last autumn. In January, Gothamist published one of the first reports suggesting that video was a fake, the production of a mysterious artist known only as Zardulu, with a predilection for gold masks and purple robes, and in possession of an army of trained rats.

The Gimlet Media podcast Reply All dedicated an episode to tracking down the enigmatic Zardulu, who used a series of Upright Citizen’s Brigade students to film the video. And on Monday, The New York Times interviewed another UCBer who claims Zardulu is also responsible for the three-eyed Gowanus fish video of last November.

Most baffling is that the entire campaign does not appear to be carefully crafted viral marketing for some new horror film or pizza chain. Perhaps this is a new business venture for struggling UCB students; perhaps it’s the master’s thesis of some Pratt student; perhaps we’ll never know. You can read about The Founding and Manifesto of Zardulism to “learn” more.

No Such Thing as a Free Lunch
Mealpass, a kind of “ClassPass for Office Lunch” launched in New York this week. The Boston-based startup offers lunch from local restaurants every weekday for $99 per month. Right now the service should prove a godsend to anyone working around Union Square or Madison Square Park – they work with over 100 restaurants in that area.

In Other News
Crain’s takes at look at Etsy’s IPO six months later – it’s not so great. Facebook has leased another 200,000 square feet of office space near Union Square. Time, Inc. is reorganizing their digital fashion content to step up editorial volume and advertising.

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