April Fools’ Day has rolled around for another year and now I’m working in the heart of public relations, it hasn’t been as well received from me as previous years. While I was studying, I was a huge fan of April Fools’ Day stunts, but that now I’m working within the industry – I’m a little more cynical.
Ann Glyn wrote a great article yesterday about this very subject, and I’m glad she did because it formed the foundations for an opinion on mine that I wanted to talk about too. “Many brands suspend those trust-building efforts and throw them out the window by publishing content deliberately meant to fool (or worse, make fools of) their audiences.” She writes. And that resonates with me and what I wrote about yesterday. That unless you’re in an industry that really resonates with ‘foolish’ comms, then your efforts could fall on deaf ears and minds. Really, your efforts are probably better spent elsewhere (unless you have a truly great idea, that is).
“If your brand has never used humour or the element of surprise in its content, April 1st is not the time to start.” – Ann Glyn.
All that being said, there are some brands that continue to really take April Fools’ Day campaigns by the reigns and run flawlessly with it every year. There only ever seems to be a handful that find the perfect mix of originality and effectiveness, without being mundane and even in some cases – offensive. But those that do get it right, reap the benefits.
Speaking of which, here’s my top picks of April Fools’ Day gags from this year (and the not-so-great ones to follow after).
My Favourite April Fools’ Day Gags Of 2019
Tinder’s Height Verification
I wrote about it yesterday, and I’m writing about it again today. At first, I was a little sceptical about executing your April Fools’ Day comms prematurely. But actually, this is the jest that’s stuck in my mind above all the others. So for that reason, Tinder makes it to this list.
Maisie Williams’ Game Of Thrones Slip
Game of Thrones is iconic enough and draws enough natural attention on its own. BUT, you can never have too much attention, right? Maisie Williams, who is known for playing Arya Stark, pranked the whole of the Jimmy Falon Show audience yesterday after pretending she’d dropped a huge spoiler. Of course, it was a joke (we all know Arya’s making it to the end) but nevertheless, the whole joke was executed flawlessly and got a lot of people talking.
Lego’s Find My Brick
I’ve been repeatedly saying that unless you can pull off something really original and believable on April Fools’ Day, then you shouldn’t bother. Lego, however, ticked all the boxes for me. And, further on from Ann Glyn’s comment that if you’re not a whimsical brand you shouldn’t be shooting humour, Lego is the perfect brand for it really… They’re well known for being light-hearted and having a product to match. Their gag hinted at using AI to ‘find the Lego brick you’ve been looking for’ and it brought back SO MUCH nostalgia for me when I used to pain myself over building Lego sculptures as a kid.
The Special Constabulary’s New Recruit
And finally, just because I love rabbits.
YOUR Favourite April Fools’ Day Picks
This blog wouldn’t be anything if not for the people who support it, so I’m always keen to get you guys involved. Yesterday, I asked what your favourite April Fools’ jokes were from 2019, and this is what you came back with.
Wrexham’s Town Improvements
Hotel Chocolat’s Beefy Drink
Though this did kind of repulse me, it also reminded me I have some Hotel Chocolat hot chocolate still in my cupboard waiting for me.
Tinder’s Height Verification… Again!
Double points for Tinder this year.
US Open’s Ballpuppies
Oh I wish it was true too.
Primark’s Sock Vending Machines
I’m adding this to the list of quips that I wish were true.
The Not-So-Great April Fools’ Day Gags Of 2019
April Fools’ Day however, as tempting as it is to get involved, isn’t for everyone. As I’ve mentioned above and as Ann Glyn reinforced in her CMI article, you shouldn’t gag in on the first of April just for the sakes of it. Unless your brand and company reputation lends itself to these kinds of charades, it’s best to leave it to the others. I suppose what you have to ask yourself is ‘what am I going to get out of this?’ and if the answer is ‘probably nothing’ then your efforts are best exerted elsewhere.
Not only this, but I’m seeing more and more April Fools’ Day jokes that have been executed in bad taste. Not intentionally of course, but they still haven’t been well received and have actually had an adverse effect of being reputation damaging as opposed to strengthening.
Justin Bieber’s Fake Pregnancy
Justin Bieber and his new wife Hailey Bieber came under fire this year for the un-original jest that she was pregnant. While I’m sure he meant no harm, hundreds of thousands of people took to social media to express their disgust, claiming that these jokes are incredibly harmful to those who struggle to or cannot have children.
Fake Presidental Interviews
And then I took to Twitter to ask not only what your favourites were, but also what April Fools’ Day gags made you shudder this year. I got the following reply from Tom, a journalist, explaining that somebody offered him an exclusive Donald Trump interview.
Not really sure of the point of this one to be honest.
And here’s some food for thought off the back of this…
What Do You Think?
Back to you again, what did you think of the April Fools’ Day fakery this year? Any good or bad to share? Feel free to drop them below or grab me on Twitter. And if you want to hear about another 7 great April Fools’ Day gags of 2019, Fran Griffin has written a fab round-up for iThinkMedia.
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Featured Image Source: Mashable