April Fools and Brand Awareness

Apr 2 • Uncategorized • 434 Views

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Let me first start this post by emphasizing how some April Fool”s pranks can increase brand awarness (again, not all). I wouldn”t want anyone to misinterpret that 🙂

That being said, online April Fools pranks have become very popular over the last few years, Google being one of the most notable pranksters with hoaxes dating back to 2000. And with the increase in popularity of social networks like Facebook and Twitter, it doesn”t take very long for said pranks to spread like wildfire.

If your timing is right (and if the joke is appropriate) it can actually help increase your brand awareness. So it won”t increase sales, but your brand name will travel quickly by word of mouth (if it”s absurd enough for people to tell their friends about it). Here at our office, we dedicated maybe about 5 or 10 minutes of idle conversation to the pranks we”d seen so far. That”s 5 or 10 minutes in which your company or brand could have been mentioned in other offices around the world.

Here are examples of some of this years pranks:

  • Topeka.com – As mentioned before, Google is one of the most notable pranksters. This year their home page proudly showed off their new name Topeka. “Early last month the mayor of Topeka, Kansas stunned the world by announcing that his city was changing its name to Google. We”ve been wondering ever since how best to honor that moving gesture. Today we are pleased to announce that as of 1AM (Central Daylight Time) April 1st, Google has officially changed our name to Topeka.”
  • If you logged into Gmail yesterday morning, you may have noticed the login page looked a little weird. That”s because Gmail had a “vowel” outage. “At 6:01 am Pacific Time, during routine maintenance at one of our datacenters, the frontend web servers in that particular datacenter started failing to render the letter “a” for a subset of users. As error rates escalated, the strain spread to other datacenters. We worked quickly to avoid a cascading failure of the entire alphabet by implementing a stopgap solution that limited the damage to the letters casinoonlineslots.cameister. “a,” “e,” “i,” “o,” and “u.” As a result, we”re experiencing Gmail?s first temporary vowel outage. (We?re still investigating whether the letter “y” is impacted and will post an update here shortly.)” This one was cute, but I think my favorite Gmail prank was the Gmail Paper hoax back in 2007. They created a multi-page microsite for that one 🙂
  • Starbucks almost had me with their “new” Plenta and Micra sizes, I will admit. But then as soon as I saw the photos I thought, oh yeah, it”s April Fools day 🙂 In their “announcement,” they said they were now listening to customer suggestions and offering 2 new sizes: the Plenta and the Micra. The Plenta was advertised as being 128 fl. oz., which, by the looks of it, looked a lot like a KFC bucket. The Micra was only 2 fl. oz. (barely larger than a cap of cough syrup).

Want To Join In On the Fun? Keep These Things in Mind

Is it REALLY appropriate? Just because big names like Google and Starbucks are doing it doesn”t mean you have to. First of all, think of your target audience. Would they be ok with an April Fools prank? Second of all, is this part of your company culture? If it is, then you could probably pull it off. If it”s not, it might be too out of the ordinary for you to achieve a successful April Fools” campaign.

Timing is everything. You may consider a little preplanning when coming up with an April Fools hoax. You don”t want to execute it first thing in the morning when people are still asleep, but at the same time you don”t want to wait until the end of the work day after everyone has already been pranked out. By then the jokes have lost their luster and everyone”s just ready to go home.

You may want to avoid REAL product launches on April Fools day. If anything, real product launches that occur on April 1st could in fact backfire. Consumers may be even more wary on this particular day with “new and improved” services or products. If you do have a new product to launch, do NOT choose April Fools day to do it.

It”s all fun and games until someone loses an eye. When coming up with a hoax, you don”t want to do anything too cruel such as telling your customers you”re shutting your doors and liquidating all assets. Believability should be a factor, but there needs to be a certain amount of silliness involved. You don”t want an April Fool”s joke to leave a bad taste in people”s mouths. Ultimately have fun with it and just use common sense 🙂 Has your company ever completed a successful April Fools day campaign?

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