April Fools’ Campaigns – The Bad, The Mad and How to Do it Right

April Fools' Day

Who doesn’t enjoy a lighthearted LOL? I know I do, though in the frenzy of flinging all my paperwork out the window as I vacated the office for the Easter weekend, the jokiest day of the year completely slipped under my radar. However, once I’d come out the other side and retrieved the contents of my desk from the lawn, I comforted myself on the first morning back by flicking through some of the most eye-catching April Fools’ Day campaigns in the content marketing sphere. Here are some of the good, the mad and the bad… and a few top tips on how brands can get that prank day content right.

April Fools’ Day 2018…

The Good

Burger King had me wondering whether chocolate was what has been missing from my burgers all these years when I saw its ad for the Chocolate Whopper. Shot in that mouthwatering BK style fast food fans have come to know and love, there were definitely a good few minutes of confusion before the world realised that this was stark, raving mad.

Facetune is the touch-up app that no selfie enthusiast would be seen dead without. But when gullible consumers clicked the Twitter link to check out their new platform, ‘Catune’ aka ‘Facetune for your cat,’ they were told: ‘Your cat is already flawless.’ And to be honest, they’re correct.

T-Mobile and their revolutionary fully wearable connected shoes had a number of consumers ringing up to claim their limited edition pair with a cheeky nod to the age of wearable tech. This is my personal favourite, perhaps because I like the idea of the built-in NO BS Assistant to help me navigate through office life.

The Bad

Amazon offering to send round your favourite author when you place an order on Amazon Publishing was just lame AF. Why? Because it was kind of boring and obviously a prank right from the get-go. Must try harder, Amazon.

Pot Noodle also get the thumbs down from me for their Pot NOWdle app that promised to deliver noodles direct to your door and bypass all that messing around with the kettle. I consider myself a bit of an April Fool at times and this didn’t even make me blink, just yawn.

The Mad

Coronation Street’s new sitcom prank proved hell hath no fury like a soap fan scorned. OK, so it’s not a brand in the sense that I usually talk about on here, but due to the angry reactions of fans to this year’s prank, the soap has won a mention in my April Fools’ Day 2018 round-up as a lesson in what not to do. Some Twitter users were confused and unimpressed to find out social media posts advertising a new spin-off sitcom ‘Victoria Street’ were not to be believed, thinking the team had built a full blown set to fool fans. Others were left incredibly disappointed to find out the rumours were false with one person tweeting, “I got so excited about this I nearly cried when I realised what day it was.” Oopsy.

How to get April Fools’ content right

A well-thought out piece of April Fools’ content is a great way to show the human side of your brand and showcase your values in an edgy kind of way. My advice? Aim for something just the right side of believable and that says something about your brand, while ensuring you don’t go overboard fooling your followers. After all, you want to avoid reducing your trusting followers to tears when the penny finally drops that there is no such thing as a recliner chair that doubles as a gym.

The best content gags require:

Commitment. Commit to your joke instead of giving the game away right from the start like Amazon. It’s that slight feeling of uncertainty – the moment when your audience sits up and takes notice – that truly embraces the spirit of the day.

Promotion. If you’re going to the trouble of creating April Fools’ content worth talking about, you need to make sure you fully embrace it across your most popular platforms. If it’s good enough to post, it’s good enough to be seen – give your gag the promotion it deserves with careful preparation in the lead up to the big day.

Inspiration. While it’s all very well to use current events as inspiration, you do run the risk of competing with other brands who had the same idea. Why not look to your own audience for inspiration? Warby Parker sunglasses created an excellent April Fools’ webpage ‘Warby Barker,’ pretending they had launched a special range for dogs, all because they found out that this phrase was the most common misspelling of their business’s name when searched. Their April Fools’ is so good, they’ve stuck to the same joke for the past few years!

Whatever day of the year it is, the key to success in content marketing is quality. Contact M2 Bespoke for all your content marketing needs.

By | 2018-04-05T14:27:08+00:00 5th, April 2018|Content Marketing, Social Media|