Our writer, Niamh Deehan, thinks April Fool’s Day is no joke for brands.
Love it or hate it, April Fool’s Day offers a serious opportunity for brands. One of the unique things about Elmwood, is that we have an in-house writing team to support strategic thinking. A big part of this is always being on the lookout for ways to develop the brands we work with, and we think April Fool’s is no joke.
With us all on the watch for the interesting to the ridiculous, those that take part could potentially earn some valuable ‘word of mouse’, likes, shares, retweets and other media coverage. But more importantly, April Fool’s Day is chance to prove that your brand has personality.
Having a sense of humour is one of the most effective ways to help build a human connection between your brand and your audience. You could be a brand we’ve forgotten about or that nobody has heard of, but if you can think laterally and show your wit, you’re onto a winner.
One way brands can rack up some giggles, is by reflecting on our culture (or lack thereof). Some of my favourite spoof products from the past that do really well include Asos’s ‘clip in man bun’, or the Mooz Selfie Shoes. This year, Mini caught my eye with the new Hipster Hatch: a set of wheels worthy of the streets of Shoreditch.
The Oxford Dictionary has proved it’s no stuffy old book, and beautifully interacted with our culture in this year’s April Fool’s prank. New words include the verb to “Leo”, as in when you “achieve something after years of trying”, and “social fleedia – a situation in which one or more social media users choose to close their accounts”.
Also pushing the frontiers of communication are Honda. For April Fool’s they’ve announced Emoji License Plates; which replace letters and numbers with emojis.
Of course, April Fool’s doesn’t mean you have to be silly. Great ideas can be funny too, especially for brands that deal in technology. These brands can question what’s possible, while showing off their credentials. Google are all about search, I wish they would find a way to make the Self Driving Bike a real thing.
BMW are a regular for April Fool’s Day. Last year’s Motormouth campaign was brilliant, and once again they’ve made us chuckle by linking what’s great about their brand to a fictional product.
Another way for brands to make the most of April Fool’s is by using the ridiculous to confirm what they are, and what they’re not. There’s something fishy about the The Saucy Fish Co. launching a new lipstick rangeTrout Pout.
As with everything where the reward is great, the stakes are high. It is possible to over do it with April Fool’s Day. Gmail made a blunder with their Mic-drop April Fools and have created headlines for the wrong reason.
It’s worth bearing in mind that not everyone can, or should be, the class clown. If you’re stuck for a prank, abstain till a prize idea hits you. A half-hearted attempt is a waste of resources that could damage your brand equity. You don’t want the joke to end up being on you. After all, there’s always enough laughs to go around.
As featured by The Drum.