3 Lasting Benefits To April Fools’ Day Prank Marketing

Modern Marketing


April Fools’ day—it can be a day you dread or look forward to…mostly depending on how prank-oriented your office-mates are. At Marketo we haven’t had any whoopie-cushions, air-horns, or onion-caramel apples in our office, so as a marketer, it’s a day that I always look forward to. It’s fun to see the unique and creative April Fools’ Day campaigns that hit the internet. And even though they are often spoofs, this type of marketing has a few key benefits that last beyond the first of April:

1) Build Your Brand Personality

Every brand has a curated image that they share with consumers. When brands create this image, they consider many elements—customer profiles, industry, product, etc. But, in some cases their brand image doesn’t include the “fun” side of the company or the people that work for it. Running an April Fools’ prank can highlight that fun side and your brand’s sense of humor.

This year, LinkedIn’s prank was a new service called “Magic Mirror” that helps users find and predict their ideal career…even if that is a Cat Wedding Photographer.

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2) Build Buzz

Take a quick peek on any social network and you will see that  April Fools’ day is a social media sensation, with a top trending hashtag #AprilFools. Brands can build buzz and awareness by participating in this event, especially if they include the popular hashtag. While it takes a little bit of planning to pull off an April Fools’ prank, it can be especially powerful for smaller companies looking for people to become familiar with their brand.

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Groupon launched their ‘prank’ Grøüber as a spoof of Uber run by cats. This type of campaign captures the internet’s love of cats and turns it viral with fun images and hilarious copy.

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3) Capture Your Audience’s Attention

Another benefit of running an April Fools prank is having a fun, creative way to try to engage your audience. This can be especially powerful. This year Birchbox—a beauty and cosmetics online retailer—sent a Saved By The Bell themed box (complete with Rad Net hairspray, and a mix tape) via email. This spoof box targeted their core audience of millennial women who grew up with the popular show.

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So while you may have missed the boat on this years April Fools’ day, you have a whole year to plan the most fun, clever and creative campaign to take advantage of these benefits.

And then, just for fun, here’s a round-up of some awesome, creative April Fools’ Day pranks:

West Elm: Sent a “Thanks for your order!” email, which must have caught recipients attention. Instead it was a cleverly designed email to point recipients to a sale:

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Google: Turned their Maps app into Pac Man… in your location:

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Amazon: It wasn’t Throw Back Thursday…but April Fools’ day was enough of a reason to swap their homepage for the 1999 version:

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Netflix: Launched a ‘Binge Responsibly’ public service announcement series. On desktops, this included PSA’s from Orange Is The New Black actresses and on mobile, it included a variety of things that you could do instead of binge-watching Netflix: