April Fools’ Day is right around the corner, and for many brands, this presents plenty of opportunities to engage and entertain customers. If you’re looking to have some good clean fun on April 1st, but aren’t quite sure where to start, check out the ideas and examples below.
Launch a spoof product or service
Pretend that you’re launching a crazy product or service then create a blog post, product page, or even a video announcing your new offering. For best results, incorporate the latest craze or technology into your spoof. Think about a hot trend in the market and see if you can tie that into your prank.
Check out the examples below.
TechStyle by Bonobos
Consider what Bonobos did in 2014. The menswear retailer decided to poke fun at wearable technology by announcing TechStyle, a solution that incorporated technology and connectivity into Bonobos’ clothing.
See it in action below:
Selfie Shoes by Miz Mooz
Another revolutionary April Fools’ Day product? Selfie Shoes. For April Fools’ Day 2015, footwear retailer Miz Mooz took selfies to a whole new level by adding a selfie slot into its shoes.
If you’re struggling to get the perfect angle for your selfie but can’t be bothered to log around a selfie stick, then these babies are a godsend. With Selfie Shoes, all you need to do is just insert your phone into the port, raise your foot to get the best angle, and tap your toe to snap the perfect shot!
Announce that you’re hiring for a new crazy position
There’s nothing like putting out a new job opening to get people’s attention. On April Fools’ Day, see if you can get your HR department in on the fun by announcing a crazy new job opening.
Take a leaf out of the playbook of these companies:
On April 1st 2011, Google announced that it was hiring “autocompleters” to join the Google Search team. They even made a video to accompany it:
Redbox’s Kiosk Ambassador
Last year, Redbox put out an April Fools’ job opening announcement and told people that the company was looking for “Kiosk Ambassadors” to stay inside their kiosks and personally dispense DVD rentals.
Job requirements included:
- must be able to think “inside the box”
- not afraid of the dark
- skilled at stacking discs
- yoga experience recommended
Change your look
Got an ecommerce site? Consider surprising your visitors with a whole new look.
Amazon goes retro
Check out what Amazon did in 2015. Consumers who visited the site on April Fools’ Day were surprised to see Amazon sporting its layout from 1999. The move took a lot of people down memory lane, and it gave the younger generation a glimpse of what Amazon looked like way back when. The design change was harmless, of course, as clicking on any part of the page took people to the current Amazon site.
Quick tips to ensure you stay on people’s good side on April Fools’
Planning a prank for April 1st? Keep the following tips in mind:
Entertain, but don’t deceive people
Your goal for April Fools’ is to prank and entertain people, not deceive them. So whatever your plans are, make sure that those who experience your prank would “get” the joke. The humor aspect of your April Fools’ campaign must be obvious and transparent.
And depending on your joke, it may even be necessary to put a disclaimer or note telling people that you’re pulling a prank. As PR Newswire Strategic Communications Manager Danielle Capriato wrote on the company blog, “without transparency, a simple joke has the potential to alienate journalists and consumers, or offend your audience.”
Keep it positive and on brand
“Don’t jeopardize your brand for a joke. It’s simply not worth it,” wrote Jen Smith, Assistant Director of Social and Digital Media at Colorado State University. In her LinkedIn post about April Fools’ Day, she said, that companies should ensure their pranks are kept in a positive light and “align with the overall goals and mission of the brand’s messaging.”
Don’t try too hard
Another tip from Jen? Don’t try too hard. She wrote on LinkedIn:
Humor can be really difficult for a brand to nail. Keep your prank clever, amusing, lighthearted and creative, but if you struggle to find the right idea, don’t force it. When we develop ideas for April Fool’s Day, we elect to take more of a “gotcha” approach with less of a “ha ha” feeling to avoid coming off as desperate.
Try to drum up some publicity
The media loves April Fools’ Day, and you can bet that many publications will be doing roundups of the best pranks for the day. That’s why if you’re doing something for April Fools’ you may want to alert the press.
Reach out to journalists before and on April Fools’ Day to share your antics. Who knows? You just might get some great news coverage! Need some guidance with your media outreach? Check out our DIY Guide on Getting Media Coverage.
And there you have it! Our top ideas, examples, and best practices for April Fools’ Day. We hope you picked up some inspiration for your April 1st pranks and you and your customers have a good laugh.
About Francesca Nicasio
Francesca Nicasio is Vend's Retail Expert and Content Strategist. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. She's also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.