April Fools’ Day is a marketers’ hay day. It’s an opportunity for brands to creatively garner a few laughs from consumers, poke fun at itself and gain some recognition. Because most consumers are aware of the holiday, they are on the lookout for clever brand hoaxes. They won’t feel quite as duped as they might have for off-holiday gambits, such as International House of Pancakes’ elaborate and laborious name change to market burgers. When done well, April Fools’ Day pranks can be memorable and harmless enough to create a stir on social media and in daily conversation while keeping the brand relevant.
Here are a few of our favorite 2018 April Fools’ Day pranks.
The fast food chain played a joke that we find just as desirable as we do amusing: They created a commercial for the Chocolate Whopper. The non-existent treat was complete with a chocolate patty, cake bun, raspberry syrup, vanilla frosting, chocolate shavings and other condiments. Though you may want to have it your way, you’ll have to stick to Burger King’s dessert menu for now.
Google Maps turned its services into a giant “Where’s Waldo?” map for the holiday. The hoax put a fun spin on an otherwise ordinary search. The organization shared its prank on social media and asked users to share their experience with a hashtag. Not only was it an amusing change for users, but it prompted them to interact with the brand further.
Lego turned one of the most painful experiences for parents into an enticing product. The toy manufacturing giant created the fake product VacuSort, a vacuum in an attractive package that will suck up the scattered bricks, sort them by size and color and separates them by dust. The post on Facebook alone garnered tens of thousands of likes, shares and comments from adults reminiscing and lamenting that the product wasn’t real.
The name says it all. The insurance company went quite literally above and beyond in their April Fools’ Day efforts. Progressive announced through a Facebook Live event that they were taking their insurance plans “beyond North America. Beyond Earth” to Mars. They even launched an entire website called RedPlanetProtection.com, complete with gorgeous graphics. We can’t wait to see the lengths they go to this year.
The consumer review company’s hoax included a bit of psychological torture for app users before they had a good laugh. When users opened the app last April 1, they likely saw a spiderweb-like crack spreading across their phone screen. The hoax reinforced Yelp’s brand as the authority on consumer reviews. While it initially sent some users into a panic, the prank was both exasperating and funny enough to push users to social media to share their moment of realization. We wonder what kind of reviews Yelp itself received after the hoax.
We can’t wait to see what this year brings.