April 1 is the one day a year when seeing isn’t necessarily believing, especially in the online world of branding and marketing. More and more, brands are playing practical April Fools' jokes on the public with fake product launches, random press announcements and zany social media posts in an effort to set the Internet ablaze and get consumers talking. While a farce, the pranks can build brand buzz and brand affinity among consumers if executed with enough tongue-in-cheek flare. Check out our curated list of some of the most eye-catching April Fools' Day pranks from this year:
Love Cheetos so much that you want to smell like the orange snack food? Frito-Lay’s press release announced the entry of brand mascot Chester Cheetah into the perfume space. The press release slapped on the extra cheese, calling the perfume Cheeteau by Chester and describing it as “a prestige fragrance that celebrates the irreverent, intriguing and playful nature of the iconic feline with a scent bold enough to excite and delight.” The release was accompanied by a YouTube video, which has received 1 million views to-date. Cheeteau’s integrated “campaign” included a giveaway of 100 bottles of Cheeteau on Twitter. Fans who Tweeted a cheesy selfie with the hashtag #CheesySelfie could enter to win the perfume.
Pizza lovers everywhere were disappointed to hear that the world’s first edible pizza box was simply an April Fools' joke from Domino’s UK. Billed as the world’s first in “snackaging,” the “Edibox“ was borne through surveys that revealed that customers “crave extra crust once they've finished their meal.” And the best part of the Edibox? It’s eco-friendly of course.
American Eagle Outfitters
What started out as a prank looks like it’s actually coming to fruition. American Eagle Outfitters announced a new line of matching outfits for dogs and their human parents dubbed American Beagle Outfitters. The joke included a “dogumentary” lamenting the current selection of duds for dogs. Intended to raise money for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) through the sale of gift cards, the retailer pulled our tails with a website full of canine couture. However, after receiving an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response, AE is now planning to actually launch a limited edition collection for pooches this fall.
Whole Foods Market
Even some Curator clients got into the jokester spirit this year. Whole Foods Market in Cambie, Vancouver played a practical prank on shoppers by posting “parking tickets” on 15 lucky shoppers’ cars. Hope the shoppers read the fine print – the citation stated that the shoppers would receive a $10 gift card for posing with the ticket and posting it on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #WFMcambie.
Google is known for its April Fools' pranks (anyone remember Google Nose?), and this year was no exception. Included in the surprising suite of jokes up its sleeve was Google Maps' video (which received 9.5 million views as of this morning) advertising an augmented reality Pokémon game run through the Google Maps app that allows users to scroll across Google Maps using their smartphones to catch different specific of Pokémon by tapping on their icons.
Google’s blog post stated: “We value employees who are risk-taking and detail-oriented, have deep technical knowledge, and can navigate through tall grass to capture wild creatures. It turns out that these skills have a lot in common with another profession—that of the Pokémon Master. With that in mind, we’ve worked with Pokémon and Nintendo to develop a new training tool to help people hone their Pokémon-capturing abilities using Google Maps.”
For Gmail, April 1 brought the introduction of the “Gmail Shelfie” or sharable selfie, which allows you and your loved ones to replace your old Gmail background with a glorious photo of your face. According to the company’s blog post, “Gmail Shelfie is built on the idea that you shouldn’t be selfish with your selfie. With just a few clicks, your mom, your aunt, or that girl you have a crush on can set your Shelfie as their Gmail theme so they can enjoy checking, reading, and writing emails while seeing your friendly face in the background.”
But perhaps my personal favorite Google rollout was Google+ Auto Awesome, which allows you to take those selfies one step further with a celebrity photobomb. Want David Hasselhoff to join you on a hike or a leisurely stroll on the beach? Auto Awesome Photobombs makes that happen.