Tomorrow is April Fools Day, an absolute staple in marketing calendars across the globe. A day in which no brand is too big to get in on the corporate shenanigans. From Tinder, Amazon, H&M, Heinz and McDonalds. We’re taking a stroll down memory lane at some iconic April Fools Day marketing campaigns from years gone by – and boy are they good.
BMW knows how to do April Fools Day. In 2019, they showcased their tomfoolery when the luxury car company announced the release of lunar paint – a car paint that can recharge electric vehicles solely with moonlight. With the tagline “see the light”, users were told that the paint “uses revolutionary photovoltaic technology to passively recharge your battery in the hours of darkness”. Given the current emphasis on eco-friendly energy sources and escalating electricity prices, this concept is actually not a bad idea! Perhaps it’s worth bringing up to Elon Musk..
Tinders height verification badge
It’s well known that height holds very valuable currency in the world of online dating…because apparently that matters? And back in 2019, Tinder trolled its users by announcing a new feature, a ‘height verification badge’. “It’s come to our attention that most of you 5’10ers out there are actually 5’6. The charade must stop,” Tinder’s press statement read. Users were instructed to post a picture of themselves in front of a building, which Tinder promised to then calculate their actual height and receive a verification badge in return. Maybe honesty is the best policy after all…
Mark Zuckerberg x H&M
Despite retailer H&M never officially owning up to this one, “Mark Zuckerberg x H&M”, as it was dubbed, was too good not to be included in this list. One April Fools Day birthed parody site MarkforHM.com (which is still live today), a website advertising a Mark Zuckerberg and H&M collaboration. Inspired by Zuckerberg’s daily outfit, the collection features grey t-shirts, and a pair of jeans, and it was sold as “one less thing to think about in the morning”. What is that sound? It’s the sound of silicon-valley bros flocking to MarkForHM.com as we speak!
McDonald's milkshake sauces
Raise your hand if you have ever tried dipping your chips into a milkshake. Back in 2016 McDonald’s social posts regarding the infamous fry-dipping went viral, and revealed just how many customers partake in the delicacy. On April Fools Day, McDonalds announced they would be officially introducing new sauces to accompany your fries, inspired by the classic McDonalds Milkshake flavours: banana, strawberry, chocolate and vanilla. Alas, to much disappointment from customers (amongst some disgust), it was all just a big prank.
Streaming service, BritBox announced “Inter-Brit,” a feature for American viewers that allows them to toggle the dialogue between British and American accents, to make British accents easier to understand. So if you’ve ever wondered what Pride and Prejudice would sound like if it was set in Baton Rouge and not Britain, well now you know.
In 2017, Amazon launched a teaser video for ‘Petlexa’. As its name suggests, the video shows why pets want their own AI assistant when their owners aren’t around. Some of the Petlexa features include pets being able to order their own food, activate smart home toys, and help your hamster keep track of his steps on his hamster wheel. A Dr Dolittle-esque AI in this digital day does seem like an intriguing idea. Petlexa, play ‘Cool for Cats’.
Heinz x Innocent Smoothies
If you’ve ever wanted to enjoy a soup and smoothie at the same time, then Heinz and Innocent have the product for you! In 2021, the two iconic brands Heinz teamed up to create one hearty concoction, Smoup – a part-soup, part-smoothie fruit and vegetable drink. Which their brand manager labelled as “liquid gold”. Heinz has a reputation for creating bizarre food combinations on April Fools Day, remember their chocolate mayonnaise and Oreo sauce packets? Smoup is another to add to the list. Yum!
Remember when Weetabix posted a tweet of their breakfast cereal paired with Heinz baked beans that sparked a viral Twitter thread with over 140 brands involved? Well, for April Fools Day, Asda took advantage of the original Weetabix tweet by introducing a new offering of a Weetabix and Heinz beans tin – and only 50p. Apparently there are people out there who actually have baked beans on their Weetbix and despite their disappointment when finding out this was all a hoax, Asda actually offers a Weetabix and baked beans bundle! Rejoice Weetabix and beans lovers!
In all seriousness, April Fools Day is a staple in marketing calendars for good reason. It can serve as the ideal opportunity for brands to flex their creative muscles, build brand awareness and also have a bit of fun with their audience (and maybe pick up some national press along the way). Also if you have a wacky product idea, why not use April Fools Day as the perfect time to gauge your audience’s response? Perhaps the ideas of Lunar-charging vehicles and Petlexas aren’t too distant in the future after all.
One thing is for sure, we can’t wait to see what April Foolishness brands conjure up this year.