Holidays present the ideal opportunity for marketers to unite with consumers around a common date on the calendar. From the Fourth of July to Christmas, celebratory days are a gimme in the marketing world. There’s one holiday, however, that is not necessarily on everyone’s radar—much to the amusement of the people who do celebrate it—and that’s April Fools’ Day. Each year on April 1, unsuspecting people are tricked, fooled, bamboozled—(call it what you will, it never gets old), and big brands like to get in on the action as well. Here, we’ll check out some April Fools’ Day marketing examples from last year—and keep an eye out for today’s mischief!
A chocolate Whopper? It’s not necessarily out of the realm of possibility, especially when Burger King puts together a high production-quality commercial advertising a chocolatey version of its star menu item. Complete with a chocolate cake bun, flame-grilled chocolate patty, raspberry syrup and white chocolate onion rings—we’re not saying we wouldn’t try it. Watch the ad here.
T-Mobile revealed a “new” tech/fashion hybrid product last April Fools’ Day called the Sidekicks SmartShoePhone (Say that 10 times fast.) The Sidekick itself was a slider phone that T-Mobile produced from 2002 to 2010, but in its April Fools’ resurgence, it’s an actual pair of shoes with phone capabilities, advertising that “now, all of the capabilities of your phone are at your feet.” Watch the ad here.
Another instance of a new food product announcement for April Fools’ Day marketing came from Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola Britain announced three new millennial and “brunch-inspired” flavors, including Avocado, Sourdough and Charcoal—all with zero sugar, of course. The faux launch article states, “Their arrival follows intensive social media research to understand the taste buds of a new breed of brunch-loving, superfood-snacking millennial.” Read more here.
Where’s Waldo is a throwback for many of us, but Google Maps brought him back last April Fools’ Day. This one was more of an interactive play than a joke, but it was in keeping with the humorous theme of the holiday. Google Maps users were instructed to “find” Waldo and his friends in various places around the world using the app. Read more here.
Head & Shoulders
“Head, shoulders, knees and toes (knees and toes!)” You know it, and you probably love to hate it. Proctor & Gamble’s Head & Shoulders shampoo capitalized on this love/hate relationship with the jingle during its April Fools’ marketing campaign last year. Check it out here.
Now this is a fake product we could actually use. Lego’s VacuSort specifically sorts all of the painful Legos populating your playroom floor—and even does so by color and brick size. A clever idea, but unfortunately it was just for laughs. See the Facebook post here.
Binge watching TV series has become a modern-day pastime, and Roku saw the opportunity to play into that commonality last April Fools’ Day. Introducing Roku’s Happy Streaming Socks! “The long time battle between snack and remote comes to an end with a new innovation from Roku Devices.” These socks allow you swipe your foot to navigate your TV’s home screen, so touching your remote with snack residue-covered hands is a thing of the past. Watch the ad here.
Local-search service Yelp went for the shock factor last April Fools’ Day. When users opened the app, it appeared that their screens were cracked—but April Fools! It was a hook to advertise the fact that you can find phone repair services by using Yelp. Whew, that was a close one. Read more here.
Let these April Fools’ Day marketing plays remind us how to have fun with our marketing messaging. And be careful out there—brands aren’t the only one playing April Fools’ Day pranks!
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