Around here, we love a good prank. Early last Friday afternoon on April 1, 2016, we awaited the return of our CFO and HR Manager, Rick, to walk into the bathroom, which we littered with empty toilet paper rolls. We were eager to see him Hulk out to one of his well-known pet peeves.
The office appreciated the results of April Fool’s tomfoolery. Our CFO, not so much. He didn’t turn into the Marvel mean and green beast but his illustrious reaction of the joke elicited enough snickers and guffaws to go around.
After all the laughter faded from the pranksters and the anger cooled from the prank victims over the weekend, we asked the question: What happens when a brand effectively markets to their buyers by using a prank?
If a business does pull off a prank (April Fool’s or no) and the business pulls it off in the digital sphere, they get great exposure and it makes their work a lot of fun, too. On the other hand, if your prank bombs, you could be looking at a lot of unhappy customers—or worse—a lawsuit.
For example, did you hear about Google’s prank fail this year? Their Minion Mic Drop cost at least one user their job, and they immediately turned off the feature. Yahoo’s faux news article that announced all Trader Joe’s stores would be closing next year, however, left people in a panic that most victims of the prank laughed about later.
See some of the best April Fool’s marketing pranks: what worked and what didn’t.
Digital Marketing Pranks
Miz Mooz Selfie Shoes
Miz Mooz offered a product last year on April Fools that some people would actually love to get their hands (or feet) on:the selfie shoe. Watch their ad below for a revolutionary way to take a selfie, provided you’ve stretched for a high kick beforehand.
Oreo’s Double Crunch Cookie
We know some folks who prefer the cookie to the cream (and they’re crazy). So while Oreo’s cookie isn’t real, it gave cream lovers a good laugh, and cookie lovers a good cry.
Meanwhile, we’re still waiting for this to be real:
Esurance’s Election Insurance
Buy into Esurance’s new offer: Move to Canada for four years if you don’t approve of the results for the upcoming presidential election. ‘Merica!
Hooters All-Male Restaurants
Last year, Hooters announced all-male staff restaurants dubbed “Roosters.” Gals, this is a great idea, and we don’t know why it doesn’t exist. Guess we’ll just go see Thunder From Down Under again…
A great April Fool’s prank may get customers’ hopes up, then dash them completely. Yeah, it’s mean but such is the world of pranking. It’s really too bad some of these products/brands don’t exist because we’d have a blast marketing on the web for them.
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