April Fools' Day and Brand Awareness
It’s April Fools’ Day, one of the few days that we are allowed to be completely silly. We take delight (or maybe not) in the practical jokes and hoaxes that our colleagues, friends and family will play on us today. Large companies have long had a tradition of using April 1 to pull humorous hoaxes on the public. It’s a great way to show off their sense of humor and humanize the brand. However, companies don’t waste hours preparing pranks just to make us laugh. We tend to gravitate towards people and things that make us feel good, which makes April Fools’ the perfect time to engage in a little feel good humor. A great April Fools’ prank is also a great way to drive brand awareness. If a prank is able to receive coverage in the media, a blog, or gain traction in social media, the company is able to increase individual product awareness and possibly conversions when the prank is tied to a real product. A great April Fools’ prank is also an opportunity to reactivate inactive consumers of your product and generates new consumers who may be curious about your company.
Finally, a successful prank usually embodies these three simple rules:
1. They fit the personality of the brand.
2. They mesh the company’s image and products in a good-natured way.
3. They are funny, tasteful and engage the customer.
Below we share some of our favorite April Fools’ Day pranks played by companies.
Twitter Announces Premium Service, Charges for Vowels
Last year Twitter announced that it would begin charging $5 per month for the use of vowels in a tweet. Only consonants would remain free in the basic service, Twttr, the letter y would remain free. In addition to a premium Twitter service, advertisers could extend the length of a tweet to 141 characters through a bid process.
Starbucks Reveals “Plenta” and “Micra” Drink Sizes
On April Fools’ Day 2010 Starbucks announced the introduction of two new beverage sizes, the Plenta (128 fl oz.) and Micra (2 fl oz.). The company posted images of people holding the drinks and suggested that the Plenta could be used as lampshades or yoga blocks. The Micra cup could serve as a milk dish for kittens or a paper clip holder. This was pretty neat, but we’d be willing to bet that more people would’ve been excited to have Pumpkin Spice year round.
Google Launches Google Nose, the New Scentsation in Search
Last year Google announced Google Nose. Which lets you search based on scents. Featured scents included wet dog, lemon, horse manure, locker room and car exhaust.
Watch the hilarious video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-P6jEMtixY
Justin Bieber and the Regular Guys
This final hoax didn’t occur on April Fools’ but it was too good to not feature. In February of this year rumors that international pop star Justin Bieber was moving to Atlanta began to circulate in the media. The Regular Guys, a radio morning show in Atlanta, organized a fake neighborhood group and held a fictitious protest against Justin’s move. According to the radio show, the fictitious protest was reported on 33 international media outlets and generated 45,000 plus news stories, including a feature on TMZ. This was a definite win for the Regular Guys not so much for the media.
We can’t wait to see which pranks will be played on us this year. What are your favorite pranks?