Ahhh, yes, April Fool’s Day: The one day a year when it’s acceptable for brands to play jokes on consumers, make fun of themselves, take a break from reality and get kooky-creative with their products. Done right, April Fool’s Day offers brands the opportunity to increase brand recognition and improve their likeability factor.
In the past, we’ve seen out-of-this-world pranks like Nest for Flights and adorable pet-centric campaigns like the Warby Barker canine collection. This year, brands competed for attention once again, marketing fake products and using over-the-top humor to turn up their “cool factor.”
Here are five of my favorite April Fool’s Day campaigns (so far) and what’s being said about them online:
T-Mobile: Pets Unleashed
Are you a pet owner who would love to make your connection with your furry, feathered or fluffy friend even stronger? You’re in luck! Earlier this morning, T-Mobile announced on their website that they’re launching a new service called Pets Un-leashed™.
For just $5 a month (a total steal!) T-Mobile customers can add a pet to their family plan, so that they too can enjoy the benefits of this far-reaching mobile network and play with some awesome new apps like Fetch Freedom and SnapCat! Meeeeoooowww!
T-Mobile promoted the Pets Un-leashed campaign across their social networks, and even got some celebri-dogs and cats in on the joke! While this was all done in good fun, we can’t help but think how many doting pet owners were let down when they found out it was a hoax.
The campaign was a success, which can be partially attributed to T-Mobile’s promise to donate $1 to the Humane Society for every person who visits the site. Providing your audience with funny content to share is one thing, but attaching value to it gives them the ability to share something they feel good about.
Miz Mooz Shoes: The Selfie Shoe
If you’re an avid selfie taker, you already know how challenging it can be to take the perfect selfie with a group of friends at arm’s length. When the selfie stick was introduced not too long ago, it was a great solution to the problem (especially for those plagued with short arm syndrome), but it ended up creating an even bigger problem: How do you fit the darn thing into your teeny little purse or the pocket of your straight-leg jeans when you’re not using it?!
Cue the Selfie Shoes by shoemaker Miz Mooz! As explained in the YouTube video below, simply slide your phone into the toe of your shoe, kick high like a Rockette, hold it … hold it… and then snap the pic. You no longer have to use your arms, so you’re free to wave to the camera, hug your bestie or simply cling for dear life to the nearest object to keep from falling over.
The shoe brand introduced the Selfie Shoe a day before April Fool’s, and it quickly made its rounds on social media. Top news outlets like “Good Morning America” and CNN picked up on it, and it spread like wildfire.
Scrolling through the comments on Miz Mooz’s Facebook page, it’s clear that about 75% of their audience gets the joke, while the other 25% is convinced Selfie Shoes are a real thing and thus must share how gosh darn ugly they think they are. “Ugliest shoes ever! I would wear Crocs before these monstrosities,” said one fan. “How r u supposed 2 walk in this crap?” said another. Sigh. Come on, people, you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet—especially around April Fool’s Day!
Are you a marathoner? And no, I’m not talking about running; I’m talking about Netflix marathons! Online streaming services like Netflix offer users the ability to stay glued to their couches for hours at a time. They could be doing literally anything else, but alas, they must answer the call of an unfinished season of “Burn Notice” or “Gilmore Girls.”
For all the “single streamers” out there who wish they could balance their commitment to online streaming services and desire to find a date, Roku now has a solution. Introducing Roku Rendezvous™, “The first dating channel where single streamers can scroll through profiles of other streamers to find that special someone worth sharing the remote with.”
This is one of those pranks that, if it became a reality, might actually work.
Yes, it’s a little weird, but people have been asking for something like this for years, so hey, why not? Joke’s on you, Roku. You could have really done something with this!
Betabrand: Derp Shots
To announce its timely acquisition of Derp.com, a subsidiary of Internet culture site Cheezburger, online clothing community Betabrand replaced all the photos of models on their site with “derp shots.”
The brand prides itself on co-designing new styles and products in conjunction with fans, and is heavily entrenched in millennial-driven online culture. Featuring derpy-looking models isn’t too big a stretch for them, and while the photos are entertaining to look at for the first 30 seconds, it’s not much of a prank. A cool way to announce their acquisition of Derp.com, sure, but they could have launched this campaign any other day of the year and it would have had the same effect.
And as it turns out, their audience isn’t totally in favor of the “derp shots” either. The comments on their most recent Facebook post show a mix of positive and negative feedback, some people going as far as to say they should “fire” whomever came up with the idea.
Jetsetter: Perception, a Virtual Reality Hotel
Jetsetter, a travel portal specializing in deals on hotels around the world, debuted the “first virtual reality hotel” on their website this morning. It touts “levels of personalization not available at traditional hotels,” without having to cough up the cash for a plane ticket. Simply slip on your virtual reality headset (included in your purchase, of course), and the virtual reality staff at check-in will work with you to customize your experience.
It seems that their social media audience isn’t quite sure what to think about the prank. Their posts have quite a few shares, likes, favorites and retweets, but no real commentary. Is the jury still out, or have they been duped? Only time will tell.
After clicking through the photos on the site, I felt a bit, oh, I don’t know, sad, I guess. Is this what budget travel will eventually become? Maybe not, but this little April Fool’s joke made me realize how grateful I am to have the ability to travel, and then—holy smokes—want to book a vacation right now. And it just so happens that I was on the right website to do it. An April Fool’s prank that results in actual sales? Now, that’s something you don’t see every day. Now, excuse me, I have a trip to Paris to plan.
These are just some of the many 2015 April Fool’s Day campaigns we found (and liked!) on the web today. Which one was your personal favorite? Let us know in the comments below!
Courtney Canfield – I’m an Associate Strategist here at Pace. I'm originally from Massachusetts, but I have called Greensboro home since I graduated f…MORE