Many brands seem to take the ridiculous communication they are put out on April 1 very seriously. For many companies, it’s a chance to try out something new and strange and see if they can push their messaging in a new direction.
Because humor and oddity is a great way to cut through the noise of advertising, brand April fools pranks allow companies to cut loose and even poke fun at themselves, their products, social problems, or just enter into surrealist weirdness.
nnaise “now with Butterfinger” was a crossover gross out that featured a campaign videos of people “enjoying” mayo on their candy bars. It became a Twitter sensation – with the happy ending that you could actually use the product in a recipe for a peanut butter cake that stays moist due to the addition of mayo.
But don’t get me started on the chocolate Kotex.
PHYSICIAN, FOOL THYSELF
One of the best things about April Fools for brands is that they can show they don’t take themselves too seriously. DuoLingo’s ad this year featured videos of their OWL mascot terrorizing people in a faux commercial for a law firm that would help you press charges. The firm, Menchetti & Sons even had a real hotline, 781-STOP-OWL.
In another instance of self-referential humor, T-mobile claimed to be changing their brand color to “New Magenta” (color code “TMO-040122) which they claimed was the result of ” thousands of hours of research and development,” The roll out featured merch and a “New Magenta” website. The reveal? The color is identical to their previous branding, but is a great send up of rebranding efforts.
DYSON’S NOT APRIL FOOLING
One very strange case is from the company Dyson who launched a very odd looking personal air filter headphone combo. Perhaps they are using April fools as a time to launch an outlandish idea, whose time might have come? To add credibility to the announcement the ‘Dyson Zone’ appears to be the product of several years of work toward an air filtration system that targets pollution during commuting.
Ultimately, the fun that brands have with April Fools might have more lasting power than a Superbowl ad. It gives them the freedom to implement a campaign that is fresh with almost no consequences should it fail – after all, it’s just a joke
What do you think about April Fools Day ads from brands?
Have you ever been tricked by one?
Does it make a brand more attractive when a brand seems to be able to poke fun at itself?
Are there any that you’ve seen that feel like epic fails?
Is April Fools’ Day worth the risk for brands? Content Marketing Institute. (n.d.). Retrieved April 6, 2022, from https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2021/03/risky-content-brands-april-fools-day/
Kendra Clark – April 1, & Clark, K. (n.d.). Bold brand collabs and weird product launches: April fools’ day stunts of 2022. The Drum. Retrieved April 6, 2022, from https://www.thedrum.com/news/2022/04/01/bold-brand-collabs-and-weird-product-launches-april-fools-day-stunts-2022
Kooser, A. (n.d.). April Fools’ Day 2022 pranks: Butterfinger Mayo, invisible earbuds, 7-Eleven Tiny Gulp. CNET. Retrieved April 6, 2022, from https://www.cnet.com/culture/internet/april-fools-day-2022-butterfinger-mayo-invisible-earbuds-and-other-jokes/
Sam Machkovech – Mar 31, 2022 6:57 pm U. T. C. (2022, March 31). Not an April fool: Dyson announces Apocalyptic Filter-headphone combo. Ars Technica. Retrieved April 6, 2022, from https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2022/03/not-an-april-fool-dyson-announces-apocalyptic-filter-headphone-combo/
Sattelberg, W., & Will Sattelberg (941 Articles Published) . (2022, March 31). T-Mobile’s april fools joke is about as subtle as its ‘new’ color. Android Police. Retrieved April 6, 2022, from https://www.androidpolice.com/t-mobile-april-fools-new-magenta/
Zafarris, J., Canton, R., Hiebert, P., & Kiefer, B. (2022, April 1). The funniest, weirdest brand stunts of april fools’ day 2022. Adweek. Retrieved April 6, 2022, from https://www.adweek.com/commerce/funniest-weirdest-wildest-brand-stunts-april-fools-day-2022/