April Fools! You thought this was an article about the top marketing campaigns! Instead, we're now going to go, step-by-step, through my University short film script.
It's a rambunctious romp, combining crime, comedy, romance, and time travel. Settle in.
1. INT. SANDRA'S KITCHEN, NIGHT
Sandra chops onions. The tears fall onto the chopping board. But they're not all because of the vegetable. We pan out to the rickety time machine in the corner. Sandra places her hands on the tele-pad. The lights blink faintly.
Oh, Dave, why won't you come home? Surely the 100 million credits from the future-bank heist aren't worth leaving little Jimmy behind. What will he do without his father?
Mummy, when is dad coming home?
I don't know Jimmy, I don't know. But we have one thing, one thing to keep us going.
She stares into the distance. The music swells.
The machine whirs. Smoke billows. Who enters through the hatch? It's --
What do you think? Don't hold back, I won't be angry, promise. Maybe.
Okay, April Fools. Did I get you again? Did I even get you the first time? Well, at least you got to read through that masterpiece.
Every year, brands craft April Fool's campaigns. It offers an opportunity to communicate a light-hearted subversion of their brand image, entertaining their current community, whilst gaining publicity as people ask "Is this real? Would they do this? Would I buy it? Do I care?"
So, it's up to the consumer to keep their eyes peeled and their guard up. There's nothing more embarrassing than turning up to work saying "Did you see Pringles came out with a sour cream candle?" and having Dan from accounts laugh right in your face.
Should Brands Take Part in April Fools Day in 2023?
We've been considering whether brands should still be doing the same old jokes in 2023. Yes, it's all a bit of fun, but is it damaging or helping the relationship with your customers?
Keep in mind what makes a good joke, and whether a joke is worth making.
Though some customers might find it funny, without a new and hilarious idea they’ll get bored, or worse, annoyed.
"It’s a little passè! I feel at this point it’s just too predictable and brands pretending to launch a new flavour or item feels a bit tired."
Kimberley Olsen, the co-founder of digital agency Yatta Workshop, when asked about April Fool's Day campaigns.
And customers may be tired of the whole thing. YouGov polled over 4,000 U.S. adults last week to see whether they were looking forward to the first of April and all the jokes or mishaps it may bring. Respondents between the ages of 25 and 34 had the biggest gap between the April Fools supporters and opponents.
Over half of the respondents found a prank amusing, while a third found it annoying—the highest consensus among all age groups.
Plus Jokes can be risky. Humour is often subjective, so when it goes wrong, it goes wrong. For example, Volkswagen announced an eco-friendly name change to "Volkswagen", to promote its new electric car. The news went viral, and media sources and news outlets praised the progressive move.
But it was all a joke. A joke that could've put the company at risk of a PR nightmare, and even put them in trouble with US securities law for misleading investors.
Brands devote significant effort for 364 days annually to generate content that fosters trust and strengthens their bond with their audience.
This is the core of public relations, and it's a challenging task. However, on a particular day in April (or sometimes just the morning), many brands choose to forgo their trust-building endeavours and instead create content with the intention of deceiving their audience or making them appear foolish.
So, take your time before considering whether a joke is worth your time, or not.
Let's look at some brands doing it right.
Love Has No Language - Duolingo
Duolingo, the popular language-learning app, partnered with streaming service Peacock to create a fake dating show called 'Love Language: The Catch?' The show features bikini-clad contestants who are unable to communicate with each other as they all speak different languages.
The catch? They must use Duolingo to learn each other's language and speak each other's "love language" to win the grand prize.
This prank not only captures the attention of the audience but also effectively showcases Duolingo's product in a humorous way. It also aligns well with the app's brand values of making language learning fun and accessible to all.
Cybertruck Crash Test Dummies - Tesla
Tesla, the electric car company, released a video on Twitter of the much-anticipated Cybertruck completing a crash test. The video showcases the truck's supposed bulletproof strength, but with a lack of an actual crash, many Twitter users were left scratching their heads.
This prank not only keeps the hype going for the long-awaited vehicle but also highlights the brand's focus on innovation and futuristic technology. By teasing the Cybertruck's crash test, Tesla creates an aura of mystery around the product, generating even more buzz and anticipation among the audience.
Be There or Square - Babybel
Babybel, the popular cheese brand, announced that it would be changing its iconic circle design to a more "mature" square shape. According to a Bel UK spokesperson, the change was made to cater to a more serious audience.
This prank showcases the brand's ability to adapt and innovate while also using humour to create a buzz. It also aligns with the brand's values of taking its cheese seriously and constantly improving its products to meet the changing needs of its consumers.
Egging You On - Pizza Express
Pizza Express, the restaurant chain, announced the launch of their brand new pizza egg, claiming to have reshaped the dining experience. The Pizza Egg is egg-shaped, and according to the chain's Fan Club President, it takes pizzas to the next level.
This prank plays on the audience's love for pizza and uses humour to create a fun and engaging campaign. It also highlights the brand's willingness to experiment and innovate while staying true to its core product.
Move over chocolate, Easter just got a whole lot cheesier, crispier and more delicious.— PizzaExpress (@PizzaExpress) April 1, 2023
Thanks to the latest dough technology we're launching the world's first… Pizza Egg.
Available now in two iconic flavours, the Padana and American Hot 🍕🥚 pic.twitter.com/4a8kw4Isvj
Shooting For the Stars - Co-op
The Co-op pretended to have added another string to their bow by offering space travel insurance. According to the gag, anybody planning a commercial trip to the moon can now sort universal cover. The plans cover cancellations, meteor collisions, alien hijackings and even a plan for if you get lost in space.
This prank plays on the audience's love for science fiction and humorously imagines a scenario where space travel insurance is a necessity. It also highlights the brand's willingness to offer unique and unusual products to meet the changing needs of its consumers.
Matt Hancock; Bland, Mild, and Past its Sell-by - Isobel
London advertising agency Isobel claimed to have launched a new cheddar cheese brand named Matt Hancock's Cheddar. The mock-up of the dairy label features the politician's face and the strapline "Cheese for the people."
This prank uses humour to poke fun at politicians and create a buzz around a new product. It also aligns with the brand's values of creating products that are relatable and accessible to everyone.