So we started out thinking that this was the fakest ad in the world but now some research firm has confirmed — by sending me a bloody email — that in fact they’ve been passing these ads out to respondents and asking their opinions.

Please note that the Apple iPhone pricing piece which is on your website was obtained from a research respondent who had signed a legally binding security agreement not to disclose this information. Please consider this formal notice that this needs to be removed from your website immediately.

So what does this tell us? We don’t believe this is an actual ad or that Apple is even aware of its existence. It might be a test run to gauge reactions to the iPhone in the Midwest and/or some sort of “Pick the best ad” dealie they were trying out until some smart fellow whipped out the cameraphone or stashed a copy in his undies.

This could also be a fascinating effort adding credibility to a fake, thereby confusing us all.