April Fools Day is a great day for having a bit of fun, but it’s easy to get it wrong. In this blog, we’ll be looking at the best and worst pranks that brands have attempted on April 1st with mixed results. Yes, that’s right. It’s time for an April Fools edition of ‘Nailed It’ and ‘Failed It’, so, let’s get started:
Nailed It – Scotland’s 2020 Euros Football Kit In Collaboration With Tunnocks & Iron-Bru
Playing on the 2020 Euros excitement, Tunnocks and Iron Bru announced what appeared to be the new Scottish kit design and it whipped everyone up into a frenzy. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and what was meant to be a joke quickly turned into people eager to buy the kit with some quoting on Twitter “I don’t even care if it’s an April fools. Get them made.”
Nailed it – 2021 Robinsons Turn Centre Court Purple
Before Wimbledon 2021 kicked off, Robinsons pulled off a spectacular surprise with the transformation of Centre Court into a perfectly purple tennis court. They claimed every 8mm blade of grass had been dyed the iconic colour of Robinsons blackcurrant squash. After an 85-year partnership, it was no surprise that Robinsons were able to fool a few people. Maybe next time they could change the scoreboard from ‘Deuce’ to ‘Juice’.
Nailed It – Duolingo Release A Toilet Paper in April 2021
Are you looking for an interesting and unique way to learn a new language? Why not do it from the comfort of your own home with Duolingo’s toilet roll? This was a pretty good one from Duolingo. Who knows, you may even be able to master the basics of a new language by the time you’re done.
Nailed It – Print Money From The Paypal App
Paypal made quite the impression in 2018 with their April Fools joke with a tweet promising a new update to allow users to print money directly from their phones with their Paypal account. Although it was obviously a joke, it did make you wonder: what if it were true? Would you use it?
Nailed It – Tinders Height Verification Feature
Ever been on a date with someone you met online and you show up and you could have walked past your date without knowing it was even them? Well in 2019 Tinder created an April fools idea which some people wish was real: ‘the height verifier’ which would stop lads from adding a couple of inches to their height.
It’s no surprise that it sent Twitter into a frenzy with calls of ‘body shaming’ being thrown around in the online community. Love it or hate it, it gained 3.6 million views and we’d call that a success, wouldn’t you? Now Tinder, how about you create a feature allowing me to filter out all the pictures of men holding a fish, please and thank you.
Failed it – Manchester Releasing Prisoners
In 2015, a Manchester police department got in some serious trouble for their April foolsjoke on Twitter: “Know someone in prison? You can get them released early by voting for them on here. The prisoners with the most votes also wins a holiday.”
Although a lot of people knew this was only meant to be a joke, it didn’t go down well with those who may be a little more gullible than most. The tweet was also attached to images of some inmates who had been arrested for some quite violent crimes so it’s safe to say this one may have backfired slightly.
Failed it – Romanian playboy encouraging domestic violence
Another example of a “what on earth were they thinking ” scenario. In 2000, an issue of Romanian Playboy released an article with the title “how to beat your wife without leaving prints”. I mean…seriously? No wonder protests broke out due to this article, resulting in a huge step-down and a formal apology with a donation to an anti-domestic violence charity. Playboy also published a follow-up piece educating their audience on the topic of domestic violence.
Failed It – When Volkswagen Became “Volts” Wagen
In 2021 Volkswagen found itself in hot water after their April Fools joked about a potential name change to ‘Voltswagen’ following their transition to electric vehicles. Though the announcement was meant to be in the spirit of April Fools and highlight the launch of their all-electric ID.4 SUV, the announcement was actually made days before the famous day of pranks.
The early timing caused many to believe it was a real move. Even the stock markets reacted with a share price rise of over 10%, which made the climbdown even more embarrassing for the brand. Keep an April Fools to April Fools Day.
Failed it – Google mic drop
In 2016, Google’s April Fools Day prank of a “mic drop” feature backfired when users accidentally included an animated GIF of a minion in their emails after clicking the feature, which was placed right next to the send button. This caused confusion, especially when people sent the GIF to future employers and family members after sharing important news.
Failed It – Beachy Heads Collapse
In 2001, a Brighton radio DJ took advantage of their platform to play an April Fools Day prank. The station reported that a replica of the Titanic could be seen from Beachy Head Cliff in Brighton and many unsuspecting people drove out to get a glimpse of the supposed ship. Yep, you read that right. The cliffs became crowded with people looking for a ‘replica of the Titanic. The crowd was so large that a crack formed and the cliff collapsed a few days later…yikes.
So there you have it, five campaigns which we thought ‘Nailed it’ and five which ‘Failed it’. April Fools’ Day campaigns can be a fun and effective way for businesses to generate buzz and engage with their audience. By creating humorous and creative content that taps into the spirit of the holiday, brands can connect with their customers in a more lighthearted and memorable way. However, it’s important to strike a balance between humor and sensitivity, and to ensure that the campaign aligns with the company’s values and brand identity. With careful planning and execution, April Fools’ Day campaigns can be a valuable addition to a company’s marketing strategy.