Is April Fools’ Day Right for Your Brand? The Good, the Bad, and the Cringe
April 1st is coming up and brand managers across the country are either relishing or dreading that date on their Marketing/Content Calendars. Although everybody likes a good laugh during their work week, not every joke on April Fools’ Day is funny.
Here’s a look at some of the jokes that will have you either holding your sides from laughter or holding your face in embarrassment.
The Funny and Cool
Some of the best laughs come at the expense of yourself. Whole Foods took this self-aware approach with a jab at their customers. The organic supermarket announced a line of tattoo parlors using vegan-friendly cold-pressed beet and kale inks. But are they gluten-free?
Reebok created an ad for a faux fragrance known as “swet” that was both amusing and sticking to their fitness principles. The throwback Calvin Klein-esque brand is so ‘90s, the only thing missing was the pump-up sneakers.
Not every April Fools’ gag is a fake product or service you secretly desire. Google turned their Maps app into Pac-Man game you can actually play. The only hoax I can find in this concept is there is no way Pac-Man can get across Los Angeles in less than 30 minutes.
The Bad and Cringe-worthy
Roku and Rendezvous? The digital streaming device thought they can jump on the popular meme with a hoax service that is half Tinder, half Netflix and chill, but all cringe.
The release of Half-Life 3, the long-awaited finale to the popular franchise launched in 1998, has become a running joke in the gaming community since Half-Life 2 launched in 2004. Smosh Games took another jab at the long dead horse in 2015 with a brutal reminder in the form of a fake trailer.
UK radio station Kiss FM fooled its followers with a click-bait post that would make BuzzFeed uncomfortable. A post about “huge news” from Kim Kardashian and Kanye West actually led to a page with the words “APRIL FOOL!” and a Despicable Me gif. *Sigh*
So as April 1st approaches worry less about what your coworker or friend is planning for you. Worry about whether or not the brands you follow online impress you with a good laugh, or embarrass you with a bad joke only your uncle can dream up.
As for brands, what makes for a good April Fools’ joke is a combination of relevance, self-awareness, and also a commitment to its mission, vision and values. So if you’re still trying to come up with a great April 1st post, just look at what your brand represents and let your creativity grow from there.