Ever wondered just what it entails to be the number-one-rated restaurant on TripAdvisor in London? Apparently not much, as one journalist found out.
This experiment really is proof that if there's enough hype about something, everyone will want a piece of it - even if it's not that good (or in this case, doesn't even exist in the first place).
Think about the Prime energy drinks for example... but enough on those for now.
In 2017, a Vice journalist named Oobah Butler created a fake TripAdvisor account for a non-existent restaurant simply named 'The Shed at Dulwich'.
Oobah then got an entourage of his friends to post positive TripAdvisor reviews of said venue to help skyrocket The Shed's notoriety in the London foodie scene.
The English author and filmmaker is best known for pulling crazy experimental media stunts like this one, such as the time when he pretended to be 'Georgio Peviani', the designer of some jeans he'd found in a London market, in order to gatecrash Paris Fashion Week.
As you've probably guessed by now, Oobah decided to use his very own garden shed as the setting for his five-star 'restaurant' and purchased a 'burner phone' to handle enquiries with, before buying a domain and building a website to make the venue look legit.
"Hot spots are all about quirks, so to cut through the noise I need a concept silly enough to infuriate your dad. A concept like naming all of our dishes after moods," added Oobah
After photographing some Michelin-star-style taster menu items (or a combination of shaving foam, bleach tablets and honey to me and you), The Shed at Dulwich was born and the hype began to grow, with requests from journalists for bookings flooding in.
So much so that Oobah had to give his audience what they wanted and invited them for a one-off evening at The Shed, made complete with microwave lasagnes.
Sharing the reasoning behind his unique experiment to get The Shed at Dulwich to TripAdvisor's top spot, Oobah shared his experience of his job writing fake TripAdvisor reviews prior to working for Vice, writing: "Restaurant owners would pay me £10 and I'd write a positive review of their place, despite never eating there.
"Over time, I became obsessed with monitoring the ratings of these businesses. Their fortunes would genuinely turn, and I was the catalyst."
"This convinced me that TripAdvisor was a false reality – that the meals never took place; that the reviews were all written by other people like me."
This eventually led to Oobah's revelation to start his own fake food business venture.
Impressed? So are we.
Featured Image Credit: ITV/YouTube