Great article Augie, i've been pondering the same since reading about the Elan Gale hoax and reading Amazons ridiculous drone PR stunt.
For me, hoaxes and PR stunts largely, don't entertain me and they fall under the same category. Lies. Both hoaxes and PR stunts are essentially lies, spread in an attempt to get attention.
Doing this sort of thing massively undermines the credibility of the source and reduces trust in the platforms used to seed those lies. Sadly, when it comes to social media, due to non-existent barriers to entry, hoaxes are easier than ever to publish, seed and to make viral.
I find it really sad that individuals and corporations feel they need to stoop to such levels. I don't find hoaxes or PR stunts big or clever, I regard them as lies spread maliciously in order to dupe people. That is not a sound basis for any communication strategy, however short term. When I fall for a hoax, that doesn't promote positive sentiment in me, it makes me angry and I feel negatively towards the source of the hoax.
This doesn't mean I don't have a sense of humour - obvious spoofs designed to be so absurd they can't possibly be real DO grab my attention and entertain me (take for example Waterstone's brilliant come back to the whole Amazon Drone thing).
I will always argue that there is absolutely zero business benefit of a customer knowing that a brand, product or business exists if they feel negatively towards it and as such will spread negative sentiment and never convert into a customer. To me that is just dumb and the total opposite effective marketing.
So, i'm totally with you!