It’s that time of year again, when brands try to out-do each other with silly and outrageous April Fools’ Day pranks. Each April sees a slew of unbelievable new products and services announced, with many on the Internet still not in on the joke.
What brands have figured out, of course, is that whether or not people fall for the prank, a good April Fools’ gag grabs significant attention on social media and digital publications. Here are 10 of the best from this year.
Publicis Seattle put out a branded page and video promoting Brand Drops, “the world’s first branded aromatic rain.” According to the video, Publicis had teamed up with the “scientific community” in Seattle to develop a way to scent rain based on various brands. The video goes on to say that Publicis can now offer branded rain to its clients.
The spot is clearly poking a fun at some of the buzz words and language used in advertising and branding. The most clever line is when the video describes consumers gaining inspiration from the branded rain as “cognitive scent consumption.”
On its official blog, social site Reddit announced a new navigation feature. Heddit — using HEAD, or hand equivalent action detection — allows users to navigate the site with nods, head shakes, and facial expressions. The appearance of a feline friend will send Reddit into “cat mode.”
The only thing this prank is missing is video of real-life people falling for the story and trying all of the facial expressions. Although, the Reddit blog does have gifs of each expression supposedly used in Heddit.
Professional networking site LinkedIn tapped into the Internet’s obsession with cats to create Cats You May Know, the world’s first all-cat social network, allowing felines to connect with one another according to skills, which include “laser specialist” or “nap tech.”
The cat thing may be a bit overused, but this prank is somehow still amusing.
Crowd funding pioneer Kickstarter put out a blog post on April 1 explaining its plans to join the ranks of "no 'e'” sites like Tumblr. According to a blog post, Kickstarter wants to return to its roots by dropping the “e” from its name. The site claimed reasons like the “’e’ has looked weird” and there’s “no ‘e’ in community.”
This is one of those pranks that it is easy to fall for. Dropping that last “e” is popular in Internet- and mobile-based businesses. Kickstarter also changed its logo to an e-less name for the entire day. Understandably, social media followers were confused by the announcement.
There is no 'e' in Community. Introducing the new Kickstartr: http://t.co/n2dEI67QDv— Kickstarter (@kickstarter) April 1, 2014
Telehealth firm American Well specializes in setting up virtual doctor visits over the Internet. On April 1, the firm announced a new initiative to better the health of its users by coordinating virtual meetings with adorable puppies. American Well outlines its new program, Puppy Connect, in a video that describes the health benefits of the program and how the team chooses which puppies to hire.
American Well took a safe route by choosing something adorable, funny, and obviously a joke. Although, it could really help citizens’ health to interact with adorable puppies on command.
Another crowd funding firm, Crowdtilt, pulled one of the year's more impressive April Fools' Day jokes. The firm created an entire website devoted to raising money for “Silicon Island,” a place for startups to retreat and thrive without regulations.
The site pokes fun at famous startups by boasting perks like bitcoin being the only form of currency, food substitute Soylent being the official food (and also eliminating a need for kitchens), and an island-wide, 24/7 Sonos playlist filled with dubstep.
Qless, a mobile app designed to reduce physical lines, announced a new app on April 1 that we all wish was real. The Line Ringer app scans the mobile phones of any persons queued ahead of a user and prank calls them with an emergency, forcing them to leave and allowing the Line Ringer user to advance.
Qless found a clever way to build an April Fools' prank that still kept in line with its general purpose of reducing lines. In doing so, any attention the brand received still fell in line (pun intended) with its messaging.
Community based map and navigation app Waze announced its new dating platform, WazeDating, for singles stuck in traffic. The prank video plays it straight throughout, profiling couples who found love with the app.
This is another app that, besides the obvious dangers of using it while driving, could really be true. A WazeDating app doesn’t seem all that different from a Grindr or Blendr. Walking the fine line between joke and reality can work positively if it inspires more people to share under the belief that it is true.
CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, put out a press release announcing that all future text would be in Comic Sans and that its new logo would feature pop star Justin Bieber. For the day of April 1, all headings were changed to the font to go along with the joke.
What CERN did was completely goofy and representative of a clear-cut joke, appealing because of its lighthearted and silly nature.
10. Moz – MozWorthy
SEO consulting company and software developer Moz wanted to offer a little digital marketing help for the start of April. The company put up a blog describing a new product, MozWorthy, which takes boring videos and ads “pizzazz” to make them go viral. To support the blog, Moz created a spoof of the viral hit video “First Kiss.”
The joke here is that it’s impossible to make boring content take off. Agencies and companies like Moz often have clients say things like, “I want to make a viral video,” as if that was something easily predicted.