Commentary

Why Brands Should Have Fun On April Fools' Day

April Fools’ Day might be the most fun day of the year for marketers: the one time that even the most serious of brands can let loose and do something a little crazy, without consumers battling an eyelash.

A brand like Google builds out a whole strategy for April Fools’ Day. This year it turned Google Maps into a giant game of Pac Man, announced a dial-up mode for Google Fiber (for those of us who really miss that long way for the Internet). Meanwhile, Gmail launched the Smartbox by Inbox by Gmail by Google to merge the best of email and snail mail.

Video has proven to be a highly effective medium for brands’ April Fools’ Day pranks, especially since it’s one consumers like to share. This year we saw a few trends emerge among the content.

Pets

A number of brands produced pet product content. 3MillionDogs, dedicated to dog news and deals, put out a video promoting the first poofume for dogs, Fetch by Fetch. Groupon UK offered an online course to learn dog barking as a language, while its U.S. counterpart offered a new cat-driver service called GroUber. My personal favorite was courtesy of Hulu: Hulu Pets offers premium pet “purrrrgramming” including  “The Real Pugs of Portland,” “The Bark,” and “Laser Pointer: The Series.”

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Selfies

Selfies are almost too easy to make fun of. Honda released a video of its 2016 HR-V SLF Selfie Edition, a car equipped with 10 cameras for hands-free selfie technology. Motorola is promoting handcrafted selfie sticks -- which some might be disappointed are not real.  And combining the pet and selfie trends, Petco offered bark- and meow-activated selfie sticks for pets.

Newfangled Delivery

There are all sorts of new technologies that make deliveries easier than ever. Southern Comfort announced #SoCo2Go, its drone delivery service that flies liquor to your front door, while Jimmy John’s created a super-fast drone delivery service for its sandwiches. Domino’s went the autonomous vehicle route, creating Domi-NO-Driver, a driverless delivery robot

New Realities

With Facebook talking a lot about virtual reality, it’s not surprising that a few brands created special products that play on that technology. PlayStation Flow lets users explore in-game, underwater environments by swimming in a pool. Jetsetter.com released Perception, the first virtual-reality hotel.

Are these really jokes, though?

Yes, all of these pranks listed above are jokes, but many of  the products and technologies are feasible and some may have a real market out there. Surely we aren’t too far from drone deliveries. And I know a few people who would love to try out a Playstation Flow-like device that lets them virtually enter and physically participate in video games.

One of the most brilliant product releases on April Fools’ Day was from Amazon. The company announced the Amazon Dash button, a WFi-enabled button that consumers can place in their home and push to reorder frequently used packaged goods. Its announcement on March 31 created a lot of confusion in the market as to whether or not the button was real or a prank.

Turns out, the Amazon Dash button is a totally real product. But Amazon made the most out of the fine line between ridiculous and totally believable that brands walk on April Fools’ Day to create a lot of buzz around its latest product. It wouldn’t be surprising to see other brands follow suit in years to come.

1 comment about "Why Brands Should Have Fun On April Fools' Day".
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  1. Walter Sabo from SABO media, April 4, 2015 at 7:33 a.m.

    Brands should get their heads out of their butts and have fun every day. Most companies waste so much energy being so serious about themselves. You're making soap. The public doesn't care if you're serious, just if you're clean

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