Each year around the office on 1 April our work chat is filled with the marketing genius of companies that showcase their creativity and humour, and while there’s a fine line between a laugh and bad taste when done correctly pranks can get people talking about you brand for free!
In a past life I worked in the wine industry in South Australia and we launched a campaign on April Fools’ around the winery’s new range of wine infused grapes called “Grape Expectations” with a press release that was picked up and ran across local news sites garnering free publicity and a laugh for all of us around the office, check it out here.
Here are our top 5 April Fools' marketing campaigns that truly caught our attention over recent years:
1. Google's "Google Gnome"
In 2017, Google introduced a new smart home device called Google Gnome. The product promised to provide "hands-free help, in the form of a yard gnome." The ad was complete with this hilarious video.
2. BMW's "P.R.A.M."
With the royal baby due in England's 2013 Summer, BMW introduced a new tongue-in-cheek product in 2013 with the "Postnatal Royal Auto Mobile." It featured "air con, reclining seat, ambient interior lighting and paparazzi-proof hood as standard" and was available in either Royal Blue or Princess Pink.
What's more? the ad promised to provide "Sheer Driving Pleasure for you and your little one." The campaign was a huge hit, and even though the product wasn't real, it got people talking about BMW.
3. Netflix's "Netflix Live
In 2017, Netflix announced a new show called "Netflix Live." The show was supposed to be a live stream of comedian Will Arnett making comments on mundane everyday life as a clever dig at the worst kind of live content. The announcement was a great way to show that Netflix doesn't take themselves too seriously.
4. Honda's "Horn Emojis"
In 2017, Honda introduced a new product, "Horn Emojis." The product promised to provide drivers with a way to express their emotions while driving. Honda horn emojis allow a driver to get their point across safely by pressing one of a series of buttons mounted on the steering wheel. The ad was hilarious and got people talking about Honda.
5. Jimmy Brings, Wine Proof Tracksuit
In 2022 beer, wine and spirit delivery service Jimmy Brings announced it was expanding into leisurewear with a $1.4 million investment with the announcement of its "Wine Proof Tracksuit". The tracksuit's unique wine wicking abilities made it protected from spills while being comfortable for everyday. The campaign was picked up by news outlets before it was realised to be a hoax!
In conclusion, there are some obviously sensitive topics your April Fools' campaigns should steer clear from but when done tastefully and creatively, they can add a bit of humour and free press for your marketing strategy!
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Written by Philippa Crosthwaite
The Brand Bar Pty Ltd