Which Marketer Rules on April Fool’s?
April Fool’s Day: the one day where it’s socially acceptable for The Honey Baked Ham Company to turn ham into a body spray. Brands relish in using April Fool’s to flex their creative muscles and boost brand awareness by allowing themselves to get a little nutty.
Over the years, there have been some brand hoax standouts that have certainly gained traction and stopped audiences in their tracks, but how do popular brands like Burger King and Netflix keep up? Which brands consistently wow us, compelling us to click that “share” button? Which brands lost their touch?
We’re no joke experts, but we’d like to think that we have taste (which is why, again, we’d never believe in, nor wear, meat perfume...just, no).
Honorable Mentions of April Fool’s Day
Google always outdoes itself, launching at least ten April Fool’s campaigns a year. 2019’s standout was the Google Tulip - a Google Home that can talk to flowers. “Okay, Google - talk to my tulip.” This way the flower controls the conversation.
Since voice technology is the newest craze and increasingly more popular and relevant, Google really hit home with this ridiculous, but seriously handled ad.
“Uber for Tinder” in 2015 truly seemed like a realistic and actionable idea even if it was an April Fool’s prank. Tinder stepped it up this year with the “Tinder Height Verification” feature which, even though it isn’t real, is extremely relatable (and possibly needed?). Since so many people lie on their profile for matches, this would certainly weed out any phonies! Next year hopefully Tinder will apply an “Age Verification” feature for those who are actually fooled in real life!
then lead to 2014 with obscure Netflix Originals starring sizzling bacon and a rotisserie chicken,
and all the way to 2018’s Netflix acquisition of Seth Rogen’s mind.
Netflix was somewhat disappointing this year. They mocked and poked fun of the idea of April Fool’s and people being tired of corporations’ efforts to market it. Netflix Canada shared a popular Russian Doll tweet and Netflix US retweeted here and there, but, overall, it was a disappointing display.
The year of John Stamos in 2017 will always be a winner. Who could ever beat, "Horror Movies that give John Stamos the Heebie-Jeebies" and "Movies that make John Stamos feel emotions?” Special mentions to 2015’s PSA’s against binge watching and 2017’s commentary of inanimate objects with Will Arnett.
Spotify, who brilliantly and regularly uses data to drive ad campaigns, launched a subtle yet impactful April Fool’s campaign when they replaced everyone’s “Discover Weekly” with “Discocover Weekly.” Users who normally have a curated playlist based on their listening preferences were subjected to a playlist of disc-covered songs that were surprisingly well received. Spotify and Netflix’s typical approaches to April Fools’ Day are unique because, instead of a complete hoax or “got ya” statement, they provide something users can actually experience. 10/10 to Spotify for providing some tasty disco fever this year.
The Winner of April Fools’ Day 2019
Burger King, or shall we say “Prank King,” is a devoted player to the April Fools’ Day posting game. Even when it isn’t April Fool’s Day, they are pulling stunts to stump their competitors with campaigns like the 1 cent Whopper deal at any McDonalds or the virtually interactive “Burn that Ad” campaign.
Burger King’s unique and innovative style sprouts ads like the revival of the classic, yet confusing, Andy Warhol ad for the Super Bowl that starts conversations with passionate and puzzled audiences. April Fools’ Day is a huge event for Burger King. One of the most cherished and highly rated pranks of all time was their Left-Handed Whopper stunt in 1998 when Burger King advertised and then received a number of requests for “Left-Handed Whoppers,” which were the same as any other Whopper, just “rotated 180 degrees.” Since then, some recent April Fools’ Day campaigns include Whopper cologne, Whopper toothpaste, Single Fries, and the Chocolate Whopper.
This year, the King sought the consumer’s help in “The King’s Fools’ Challenge” to make a campaign that would top all previous ones.
So how did Burger King break through the cluttered April Fools’ landscape in 2019?
In 2019, Burger King’s April Fool’s stunt was the launch of the “Impossible Whopper” - a meatless Whopper.
What makes this April Fool’s prank unique is that it’s not an April Fool’s prank at all! This launch extends Burger King into more diverse and larger audiences and it definitely outranks its toothpaste and cologne predecessors. The fact that they announced the Impossible Whopper on April Fool’s is pretty brilliant - because it’s not a joke at all.
AgencySparks celebrated with a little prank of our own…
Special shout out to up and coming brand TikTok for joining the race by releasing the statement that DJ Khaled is its new CMO....or Chief Motivational Officer. Honestly, not a bad idea.
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