- Fool your gadget-obsessed friends with the iArm or iDrive from Prank Pack
- The growing gag-gift box company has a decidedly techie feel
- Founder says he got idea when his nephew got video-game console in coffee-maker box
If your gift list this year includes gadget-obsessed early adopters who love snatching up the latest electronics, you're in luck.
Why not give them an iArm -- an adjustable forearm mount that will let them fiddle with their smartphone, laptop and tablet computer all at the same time?
Or for the e-geek on the go, consider the iDrive. Because, let's be honest, we all need a steering-wheel mount to help play with our tablets and e-readers while we're driving. (What could go wrong?)
Sound ridiculous? Well, sure. But these gag products may at least let you fool your family and friends for a few seconds.
Graphic designer Arik Nordby said he got the idea for Prank Pack when his nephew received a video-game console cruelly hidden inside a coffee-maker box.
"Being a good kid, he pretended to be excited for a little bit. There was this awkward moment," Nordby said. "It kind of stuck in my head -- why don't we do this for adults?"
And thus was Prank Pack born. Nordby teamed up with some staffers at humor site The Onion, a handful of whom now work with him at 30 Watt, his graphics company based in Minneappolis.
The idea is to hide a real gift inside the real-looking, if remarkably silly, packaging for the fake gifts.
Some of the tech-inspired bogus products bear a resemblance to those from a certain gadget-making powerhouse (note the lowercase "i" if you're confused). Nordby concedes that's no accident.
"I am a sucker for anything with an 'i' in front of it," he said. "After using Apple products for over 20 years, it's safe to say they own a large section of my brain."
In addition to the aforementioned "i" items, other Prank Packs include ToeTunes, or bedroom slippers with built-in speakers, and PetPetter, an electronic armlike contraption that will, yes, pet your dog or cat for you. The tag line on the box reads, "Never touch your pets again!"
For more options, The Onion offers its own "Decoy Gift Boxes." Among them is the iFeast, a combination feeding bowl/iPod dock so your pet can rock out while chowing down.
At $8 each or three for $20, Nordby said he's seen sales roughly double every year for seven years. The packs are sold at Bed Bath & Beyond and numerous online retailers, including Think Geek.
He's no economist, but Nordby said his growing success has to say something about the retail climate this holiday season.
"We like to say it's a good economic indicator when people are willing to pay for empty boxes," he said.