April Fools!

Sep 16, 2019 - Mary Kinder

Remember when you were in elementary school and April Fool’s Day was one of the biggest holidays of the year? I started pulling pranks as soon as I woke up, starting with pretending that I had gone blind while sleeping. But, as we grow up, April Fool's Day has less of an impact on our lives as we believed it would as children. Unless you’re in marketing.

Thanks to the Internet, especially social media, April Fool’s Day is once again relevant for adults. Marketers around the world use it as an excuse to try to trick consumers into outrage over new products or services. Google has become the king of the day, but now everyone expects the joke which makes it much harder to land. I prefer the pranks from unexpected sources.

For example, Temple University announced on Twitter a rebrand of its icon “T” logo to a more modern lower-case version. Alumni and fans across the country were outraged.

Similary, two iconic brands added new chocolate products to their offerings. Heinz chocolate mayonnaise, worked in fooling people because the product seems strangely believable with today’s trend of condiment blending. After all, Mayochup is a real thing. The other is Burger King’s chocolate burger which was made more believable thanks to outstanding production values.

Another April Fool’s Day prank that stood out last year was from Yelp. Many users reported that when they opened the app, their screen changed to look as if had been cracked. It did seem to irritate some users, but fooling people is the point, right? The best part was that it was tied in to a reminder that you could find a phone repair shop through the app. Brilliant.

This year, however, there is one big wet blanket to spreading April Fool’s Day fun. Microsoft’s marketing chief has sent a memo to employees warning them not to participate in any outward facing pranks. Hopefully, this is all just an elaborate set up to the ultimate “Gotcha!”