Many pranksters enjoy the free pass that they get on April 1st… but many others get into the spirit as well: from radio stations broadcasting joke news bulletins, to brands duping their followers on social media...
If there’s one day in the year that a business can let loose and have a little fun with their brand… it’s April 1st.
Most often it’s a fake new product announcement… Some of which are just plain absurd (a dead give-away of the April fooling), but some are so great that people don’t realise straight away and wish that the fake product was actually real!
So without further ado - here are some of our favourite examples of brands making the most of April Fools' Day on Social Media in recent years.
It’s no secret that Burger King never take themselves too seriously… They’ve run a few April fools campaigns over the years, like the ‘left handed Whopper’ back in 1998. They always get huge points for effort and execution. Fans love it!
One of the most believable was probably the Chocolate Whopper. It had fans asking when the release date would be!
Another less believable prank was the Whopper flavoured toothpaste… 🤢🙅♀️
Burger King clearly take April fools very seriously… This year they even decided to crowdsource ideas from students ahead of April Fools 2020.
In 2017, Google ‘launched’ Google Gnome - an outdoor version of the Google Home.
In the same year we also enjoyed Ms Pacman within the Google Maps app.
And in 2018, we enjoyed ‘Where’s Waldo” in the Maps app too. While these last two aren’t a true ‘April Fools’ pranks, we’ve included them because it’s an example of Google getting playful with on April 1.
Mark Zuckerberg x H&M
H&M threw this out to the internet in 2016… and people thought it was so brilliant that the concept now has it’s own website campaigning for it to become a reality. See it for yourself at http://markforhm.com/
Toms + Uber = shuberX
Now this one is cleaaaarly fake due to it’s absurdity - but good for a laugh nonetheless!
This one plays with the power of make-believe. Its cleverness lies in its ability to make fans ask ‘ooh, what if…” and wish it was real.
Head & Shoulders - Knees & Toes
Too good! We love how this one plays with the brand name.
And finally, Jamie Oliver
Renowned for simple recipe books, he took it a step further to create this masterpiece... 😂 Toast for dinner, anyone?
By and large, people love these kind of April Fools’ jokes. It’s a great way to engage fans and build engagement or rapport with them. At the very least, it’s a good way to draw attention for going out on a limb! People appreciate it when brands flex their creativity muscles. 💪
While it only happens once a year, the principles behind the success of the above pranks can be applied all year-round: Think outside the box. Be playful. Put your customer first - what would they love to see? (... and psst! If you want to get to know your customers a little better, get your hands on our free ebook: "How to create Customer Personas for your business").
Any brand could break down their barriers to create a convincing April Fools’ prank. The key is that all of these brands know their audience well, and have crafted the pranks tastefully without straying from their overall brand.
Could any brand pull this kind of prank? Well, technically yes - but to execute it well, your brand needs to be strong enough in the first place - your followers need to get you, so they can get the joke. For this reason, these sorts of jokes are best for well-established brands.
If you're a startup or your business hasn't been putting much TLC into your marketing, you might not be there yet. After all, you have to walk before you can run. If you're wondering how to take the first step or pick up the pace, join Sam for our upcoming free webinar, 'Startup Marketing Strategy Essentials'. 😉
by Carly Layton
Written by Carly Layton
Carly is a digital marketing manager with agency experience across a range of name brands - from travel to FMCG. She's passionate about all things digital and has a particular interest in consumer behaviour and the role of technology in our modern lives. Carly is a woman of many talents - she's a yoga teacher, freelance photographer and speaks fluent French. With years of experience in customer service, retail and corporate environments, she truly understands the importance of a customer being at the heart of everything a business does.