Have you tried out the April Fool’s Campaign Generator?
No, we’re not joking. AI has finally become sophisticated enough to devise cheeky pranks for April Fool’s Day.
We’re not sure (yet!) if an algorithm can beat humans when it comes to humor and creativity. But what we do know is that many brands have already succeeded in driving awareness and engagement around April Fool’s Day – without AI.
Check out these cool, calculated, and very appealing April Fool’s Day marketing campaigns from some of the world’s leading brands:
This campaign by Google Netherlands is a very convincing introduction to “Google Tulip”, a technology based on machine learning that finally lets us humans talk to flowers. The commercial has got everything: realistic lab footage of busy ‘scientists’, and talkative tulips demanding water, compost, and the answer to the question, “what is the meaning of my existence?”. Probably the funniest moment was when the lab worker tries to make conversation with a very prickly cactus, which replies simply, “Go away.” Smart, funny, and close enough to reality to be plausible – we weren’t exactly fooled, but love it anyway.
You know a brand is truly dedicated to its April Fool’s Day campaign when they build an authentic-looking web page to promote it. That’s what Sodastream did with their SodaSoak joke: a new add-on feature that lets you carbonate your bath into a relaxing bubbly soak. The product was advertised for purchase at Bed Bath & Beyond at a massive 98% discount (it wasn’t really…), and the commercial featured Reza Farahan of Shahs of Sunset reality fame and Sodastream brand ambassador Thor Bjornsson (“The Mountain”) for added credibility. If you’re going to do an April Fool’s prank, then take it all the way. Go Sodastream!
For anyone with a craving for the good old days of the 90s, this Honda “Pastport” April Fool’s campaign definitely hit the spot. The tongue-in-cheek campaign presents the new “pastport” trim for the Honda Passport mid-SUV, to deck your car like it’s 1999 (at least): complete with digital clock, internet router in the glove box for connectivity, and even an air conditioner! Beeper mount! A place to plug-in your Discman! The on-screen font, presenter’s wardrobe, and background music all take us back to the 90s and almost make us wish it wasn’t a joke (sort of). A+ for nostalgic humor.
The Guinness brand is famous for a certain golden liquid, and in this April Fool’s Day campaign, they are promoting an entirely different golden liquid: Guinness Cologne. It’s “the great taste of Guinness, condensed into a tantalizing aroma…” or something. The sleek commercial showing off the luxurious new cologne is – at first glance – completely believable. The music is sultry and elegant. The lighting is dim and moody. The glass bottle is a work of art. But if you look closely at the copywriting, the joke is clear. “Introducing the scent of power, the scent made of more…”. OK, you got us. Well done!
Tiffany & Co.
Tiffany & Co. doesn’t strike us as having an April Fool’s vibe, but, hey don’t judge a book by its cover. The premium brand definitely has a cheeky sense of humor. For April Fool’s Day in 2022, Tiffany announced the launch of its own cryptocurrency, “TiffCoin”, with exclusive events, products, and NFTs for coin holders. Although the joke was revealed quite quickly, it turns out that you could indeed buy TiffCoin, just not crypto. The brand released a limited edition 18K gold coin, engraved with the letter “T”, available for purchase online for 24 hours only. Although a joke, the campaign turned out to be completely classy, and we’d expect no less!
Be careful what you prank about, it might just come true. That’s what happened to Subway. For April Fool’s Day, the brand announced the launch of the “SubDog”, a foot-long hot dog in the classic American style. The campaign got high engagement on social media, which is great – after all, the idea behind any campaign is to create buzz. But then things got serious. Subway Australia decided to turn the joke into a business move, offering the SubDog for real for a limited time, coinciding with the Aussie football finals, always a popular time for fast food and hot dogs. So don’t underestimate the potential of your April Fool’s campaign; it might just turn into your next big idea.
The best joke always has a grain of truth in it. In this case, it’s several million grains. Logitech’s April Fool’s Day campaign did a brilliant job of tapping into a particular frustration of many workers: “business speak”. You know, all the jargon and buzzwords you have to put up with in meetings. So the computer accessories brand joked around with an announcement of a new product, the “Business Speak Detector”, or BS Detector, designed to detect and alert about business speak during video conferences. The commercial is so well done, you can almost believe that it’s true. And if not, then please Logitech, hurry up and make it so!
The key to any successful, joke-y marketing campaign is getting the tone just right. Being able to “read the room”, so to speak, and capture the mood of the audience. The early months of the COVID-19 crisis were no time for pranks. So we’re fans of what Virgin Airlines in Australia did for April Fool’s Day of 2020. Instead of the usual jokes, the brand took the toilet paper shortage in Australia, and turned it into a feel-good campaign with just the right amount of wit and banter. In short, the airline decided to donate all the unused toilet rolls from grounded flights to communities in need. This is a great example of a brand creating a spot-on April Fool’s Day campaign, even during the most challenging times.
Why April Fool’s Day Campaigns?
In the holiday marketing calendar, there are many opportunities to promote your brand or business in order to boost sales. For example, Valentine’s Day, Black Friday, and Christmas are all holidays where consumers up their spending. Campaigns around those days are focused on conversions. April Fool’s Day is different.
There are no specific celebrations on April Fool’s Day – no family get-togethers, special foods, or decorations. What April Fool’s Day does offer is a chance to let go and show off your brand’s cheeky side, boost brand awareness, and gain customer mindshare. Take inspiration from the campaigns above (or maybe even ask AI to help you), and try out some April Fool’s pranks on your audience. It might just give you the boost you’re looking for.