A few days ago, I tweeted about Tinder releasing what was quite clearly an April Fool’s gag prematurely. The saying goes that if you make a joke after the clock strikes 12, then the joke is on you instead. But how about exerting your efforts days before the first of April?
That’s bad luck for sure, right?
Introducing Height Verification (Or Not)
Tinder’s contribution to the 1st of April shenanigans saw them pledging to introduce height verification to their app. (Which, if they’d believe it, would have surely seen the ‘6ft2’ users shrinking back into their seats a little). The idea alone sounds ludicrous, but when you click through to find out more – it gets even more inane. The company claimed they would verify your height claims with a blue tick, once you’d sent in a photo of yourself stood next to ‘any building of note’ so they could work out whether you’d be truthful or not.
Logistically, it’s all off. But where does this stand from a Comms point of view? And did Tinder ingeniously get their foot in the door early on to generate attention around their gag which would have predictably been lost in the saturated environment of jokes actually conducted on the 1st of April? OR, is this complete overkill? Should brands stick to utilising just the one day to polish and perfect this lighthearted tradition in media relations, or should they just go all out and plan their stunts days in advance?
Well, let’s see.
Milking It, Or Acing It?
Tinder’s tweet wasn’t as well received as I think they might have hoped. Many rushed to point out that the execution of their gag was a little off-the-mark.
But, all that being said, of all the jokes and jests I’ve seen today, Tinder’s is the one that’s really stuck in my head. Whether it’s because I planned to write this post, or whether it’s because it was the first I noticed several days ago and it’s been on my mind since – it’s still been the one April Fools stunt that’s actually stood out.
Which of course might well have been exactly what they intended to do from the onset.
How Much Effort Should Go Into Your April Fools Comms?
But how much should you push the boat out on April Fools Day as a brand?
Well, to answer that question I think you first ought to answer ‘what will you get out of your April Fools comms?’ That’ll tell you exactly how much effort you need to – or needn’t – exort on the 1st April every year.
For some brands and organisations, an April Fools gag is pretty much expected at this stage. It would actually be seen as bizarre if they didn’t get involved. Newspapers, for example, and broadcast shows such as This Morning are the kind of outlets that really lend themselves to this kind of comms. If not for the increased readership and viewership, then for no other reason than that it’s become something of a tradition. And actually, they’re the exact kind of organisations that can get away with having a bit of a laugh and a joke.
Brands, on the other hand, well that’s where you need to be careful.
I don’t think every company under the sun should be trying (and more often than not, failing) to gag in on the April Fool’s charade. For some, it’ll work really well and for others, it’ll come across as try-hard. I’m all for lighthearted comms and in fact, it’s often great to see normally mundane companies ‘letting their hair down’ a little. But that being said, these stunts are only as effective as they can be, and if you don’t have a really unique idea in mind, then your efforts will fall on deaf ears and minds. (Nowadays, there’s so much activity that it seems to be that only the really interesting campaigns generate any attention).
Which brings me back to Tinder and their untimely ‘Height Verification’ gag…
Truth be told I came into this post maintaining the opinion that to start enacting April Fool’s comms days before the 1st April was not only out of touch, but also somewhat desperate looking. But that being said, on reflection, Tinder’s verification quip is one of the only ones I can call to mind right now. I’ll still be doing the rounds later on tonight and will probably pick out my favourite in another blog post soon, but as for brands that have retained my attention, Tinder is the one (and the only one) that have imprinted in my memory this April 1st.
So maybe ‘mistakenly or not-so-mistakenly’ tweeting your April Fools joke early isn’t that bad of a tactic after all. Let’s just hope that no more brands jump on this bandwagon next year before it becomes April Fools week and they become the fools themselves.
What do you think of Tinder’s April Fools gag? And are there any more that have caught your eye? I’m doing a round-up blog over the coming days and would love to include your thoughts. Leave me a note below or send me a tweet, I always love hearing what you have to say.
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