Marketing Foolishness

Apr 1, 2012 | Agency Updates, B2B

April Fool’s Day is a day of international frivolity. Creative shops around the world scheme months in advance—it’s the one day every year when the marketing department is permitted to go overboard without loosing their jobs.

Many brands have taken on the task of tricking brand loyalists on this prankster’s day of glory. Some have done it with great success. Here are a few that we think pulled off a stunt (large or small) with brands intact, customers smiling and a little extra buzz to boot.

Conan O’Brien Buys Mashable, Ousts Pete Cashmore as CEO (2012)

Silly Conan. We think Pete Cashmore is way too pretty to sellout for just $3,500 smackaroos. But, the video is still pretty humorous. What made this campaign a hit was that Mashable joined the fun by “Conafying” its entire website for the day.

MINI Cooper Yachtsman (2012)

Irony is a spectacular tool. MINI, being small, rolled out its extra large Yachtsman, noting the MINI driver could now go where no driver has gone before. Even noting it would reveal the new model at the NY International Auto Show. The Wall Street Journal also published the hoax, but was sure to note that they weren’t fooled.

Electronic Hungry Hungry Hippo for iPad (2012)

Ok, so we would have bought this Hungry Hungry Hippo for iPad and played it often. Perhaps this ThinkGeek April Fool’s joke created a market opportunity?

Ikea Hundstol Dog Highchair (2011)

The Australian media were taken in on this prank, running news coverage on the new product launch and telling viewers all about the exciting dog-friendly Ikea furniture. Who wouldn’t have been duped? The dog highchair had a cutout for the dog’s tail to wag for goodness’ sake!

Google Gmail Motion (2011)

Tell us you didn’t get at least a little excited about this one? Google announced its Gmail Motion, designed to save you time and make answering emails easier. You could now use hand gestures to write and send emails with ease.  We won’t expect you to admit to doing what probably looked like the Macarena in front of your computer screen at least once as you watched the video, but we know some of you did.

Taco Liberty Bell (1996)

Pretty sure you remember this one (if you’re old enough). People didn’t know what to make of this beef supreme of a joke. Taco Bell announced that it had purchased the Liberty Bell in an effort to help reduce the national debt, renaming it the “Taco Liberty Bell,” which would still be accessible to the public. Not only did Taco Bell invest a chalupa of cash in advertising, including taking out full-page ads in seven large US newspapers, they also garnered media coverage everywhere! This hoax went down in the history books.