April Fools' Day is a hugely popular day within the digital industry; it’s a day when digital marketers realise the true power, potential and capabilities their online platforms possess to target the half asleep, naïve viewers, innocently scrolling through blogs, websites and social media feeds as part of their daily routines!
The industry kings, Google, may be partly to blame here - heavily leading the industry astray and being responsible for many memorable, mischievous and sometimes controversial campaigns (such as Gmail Mic Drop) over the years.
According to Wikipedia, Google pulled a total of 11 pranks in 2016.
Creativity is instilled in the core of every marketer’s personality and brands compete each year to see who can create the most ingenious, funny, and believable jokes. Success is defined in a number of ways, with brands paying attention to engagement metrics obtained across social channels and the web.
We’d like to propose that success in terms of Aprils Fools Day campaigns could be defined by how memorable the activity was! Here are five of our favourite online April Fools Hoaxes across recent years:
Definitely one of the most fun Aprils Fools' pranks created. In 2015, Google enabled a secret feature in Google Maps, allowing you to play the classic arcade Pac-Man.
Users could play Pac-Man on virtually any local streets. In fact, you could pretty much turn whatever location you wanted in a Pac-Man level!
Mark Zuckerberg x H&M
When you’re the CEO of the biggest social platform you’re a prime target and bound to be included in an April Fools' day prank sooner or later!
In 2016 someone went the extra mile in launching a hoax Mark Zuckerberg collection for H&M.
A convincing campaign and back story was published through this website.
Mark Zuckerberg is well known for wearing a minimal grey t shirt and jeans almost every day, and this hoax campaign played up to this by featuring the strapline “One less thing to think about in the morning”!
Google Gmail mic drop
The second of the infamous Google pranks to make our list; the Google Mic Drop ended up being not as fun as the Pac-Man feature (or funnier depending on your humour).
This controversial feature was built into Gmail where a special send ‘Mic drop’ button was implemented. Pressing this button added an animated gif of a Despicable Me Minion character dropping a mic to the end of an email!
The problems arose due to the button being directly next to the original send button making it easy to click accidently. Pressing the button not only added a mic dropping minion, but literally ended the conversation, making it impossible to see any subsequent replies!
Google received a tonne of complaints about this particular prank, which resulted in the feature being swiftly removed. This was followed by a formal apology!
Twttr - Twitter
Twitter have joined in on the April Fools' jokes on many occasions.
Back in 2013, Twitter announced that they were splitting their platform into a two-tiered service, Twttr and Twitter!
Users could have Twttr account that was free but could only tweet in consonants, and a premium account that cost a month that supported vowels!
YouTube - The Contest
We wanted to include this joke into our top 5 due it being so believable; back in 2013 YouTube teamed up with satirical new site ‘The Onion’ to announce that after 8 years it was not a video sharing platform, and that in fact it was a competition and will no longer be accepting submissions. They released a video with cameos from viral video celebrities, saying that the team will now start reviewing the millions of videos uploaded and in 2023 a winner will be announced.
Honorable mention - Pimm’s Sponsors Big Ben
It’s Pimms O’clock! Last year Pimm’s announced that they worked a sponsorship deal with officials at the Houses of Parliament to help fund restoration costs of the clock.
The hoax involved getting the public to believe that they had fitted an overlay of the Pimm’s logo to protect the clock face. People weren’t too sure about whether this was real or not due to the date. However, fake video’s and pictures showing the overlay being installed by people abseiling had many people fooled!
What’s the favourite April Fools' jokes that you’ve seen online?