Honesty and transparency are fundamental for maintaining a positive brand reputation – but not on April 1st. Oh no! April Fools’ Day is a marketers dream. It’s the chance to tell a story (albeit a fabricated one), increase brand awareness and even likeability.
So, with the biggest day of pranks fast approaching, we take a look back at some of the wittiest, cleverest and most obvious April Fools’ marketing campaigns from recent years.
1.Virgin Atlantic – Glass Bottomed Plane
Back in 2013, Richard Branson and his airline, Virgin Atlantic, fooled the nation with news of his “breakthrough in aviation” – the glass-bottomed plane.
With the first new plane flying to Scotland, the glass-technology would allow passengers to enjoy the views of Ben Nevis and the Highlands…30,000 feet beneath them!
And people believed it!
2. Saatchi & Saatchi – Agency Firing App
Digital and advertising giants, Saatchi & Saatchi, took out an advertisement in Bangkok’s marketing Yellow Pages, announcing their new app “Goodbye My Agency”.
Via a QR code, clients were invited to check-out the app which was pre-loaded with ready-to-send emails that clients could use to fire their agencies.
Why did they do it? Well, Saatchi & Saatchi Thailand felt that their industry was becoming a little too serious and stagnated and therefore saw this joke-app as an opportunity to inject a little fun into the promotion of themselves.
Their ECD, Nuntawat (Golf) Chaipornkaew concluded: “We have enjoyed firing all our competitors and look forward to the 1.9 million pitches we now have this week”
3. Hunter – Peep-Toe Wellies
Fancy wellington boots brand, Hunter, fake-launched a new range of footwear – the peep-toe wellies.
Although the concept was totally impractical (given that their footwear is usually worn on farms!), the news was somewhat credible given that the brand is becoming more and more popular with festival goers and fashionistas.
4. American Eagle Outfitters – Beagle Range
Clothes retailer, American Eagle Outfitters, has leaked news of their upcoming range for dogs – American Beagle Outfitters.
The clothing range for canines is a replica of the human collection meaning owners can now coordinate with their pooches. Cute.
American Eagle Outfitters is yet to confirm whether or not this is an April Fools’, although part of us wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out to be true…We certainly hope it is!
5.The Mirror – One Direction Banned From North Korea
“Our leader’s haircut is very particular, if you will. It might not be as voluminous as Harry Styles’ famous curls but Jong-Un doesn’t want his men to look like Marilyn Monroe” – revealed a source of The Mirror, in North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang….supposedly!
The Mirror said that Kim Jong-Un had banned One Direction from entering North Korea….unless they got their hair cut to a similar style to his.
Although this was a pretty obvious April Fools’ story, we have to admit, the fabricated quote did make us smirk.
6. BBC – Digital Big Ben
Way back in 1980, a BBC overseas station claimed that Big Ben would be getting with the times (no pun intended) and changing the clock face to digital. And this caused outrage!
Furthermore, the station also announced that they’d be giving away the clock hands to four lucky listeners – and people called in to win.
7. Ryanair – No Kids Allowed
Budget airline, Ryanair, has caused a bit of a stir (as per!) with their hoax survey of 1,000 passengers claiming that they’d pay higher flight fares to avoid flying with children!
Due to the outrage it caused, Ryanair were quick to dispel the story, revealing that it was just a big mickey-taking April Fools’ gag. We're divided on that one...we jest....!