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April Fools’ marketing campaigns: the tricky way to pumpkin spice up your brand

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018

Here at ROI Media Works, we not only work in marketing, we love it too. That’s why we’re going to bring you the best seasonal marketing campaigns we’ve seen every month. We are returning from a one year absence of bringing you April Fools’ marketing campaigns (great prank, hey!?) with our thoughts on this year’s offerings.

If one were to conduct a global survey (perhaps like the one we wrote about last week) of how people start their day, a social media scroll would likely be the blowout winner. Those social media scrolls would have perhaps been a tad alarming last Sunday. Hitting people while they were under caffeinated, many brands released extremely peculiar products or services. These releases weren’t truthful and can instead be penciled in as April Fools’ marketing campaigns.

Many brands take the first day of April, a day morning (as the legend goes, all pranking is to cease at noon) with relaxed rules on truthfulness, and run with it. Tongue-in-cheek videos, press releases and social media posts are plentiful. Fictional features have been released by brands since the mid 1950’s. 2018 was no exception. The Washington Post kept an updated list of every prank the Internet had to offer this year.

The media outlet also broke them down into categories, each with a different angle of prank delivery. We’re going to borrow these for a bit. Here is how they relate to the facets of seasonal marketing campaigns:


Tech Company Pranks


Tech companies either celebrated the day in two ways. They either built something into their platform – Google Maps became Where’s Waldo and Snapchat’s latest filter, Russian Bots – or they utilize the sheer size of their platform – Netflix’s claim to have purchased Seth Rogan is as bogus as FitBit’s dating app.

You likely don’t have the social cachet  to purchase Seth Rogan. But what you can do is use the day to make jokes about the technology in our society. This will align your brand with consumers perception of it, a hot topic in today’s society.


Fake Cryptocurrencies


Companies like Bitcoin and Litecoin have taken the world by storm with their innovation. Bulkcoin and Tumblcoin were claimed to be on the way. But the latter were only created as April Fools’ marketing campaigns. This category also takes advantage of a timely talking point, a facet of seasonal marketing campaigns.


Pet-themed Pranks


Another key facet of seasonal marketing campaigns is the way they allow brands to connect with their consumers on a personal level. In April Fools’ marketing campaigns, many pet-related brands took advantage of this. In just two examples, “Rent the Runway isn’t starting a rental service for dog clothes” and “eHarmony isn’t getting into dog matching.”


Fake News & Miscellaneous Brand Pranks


Overall, the main theme for seasonal marketing campaigns is that they afford brands a license to be creative under the guise of April Fools’. Some of our favorites included Kraken rum fictitiously reporting their namesake appearing in the Thames, Burger King going sweet with Chocolate burgers and PlayStation hinting at going analogue.

The subjects of these campaigns will never see the light of day. But the effect it can have thanks to meeting consumers at a more personal level may go farther than the product or service would have, anyway.

Inspired by what you read and want to create a seasonal marketing campaign that can make your brand feel worthy of Super Bowl ads? We would love to help. Drop us a line at

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