MSH Inbound Marketing Manager, Craig Kilgore, was foiled Tuesday.
As we watched the surplus of brands, small businesses, media outlets, prominent individuals and coworkers roll out their April Fools’ Day pranks and jokes this Tuesday, we saw the convincing, the creative and the annoying, as well as the pranks we wished would come to actuality (smart gloves or LinkedIn for Cats, anyone?).
Though if you’re in the tech and marketing industries, chances are you spent a fair amount of your workday frustrated, having an hourly debate with coworkers over which alleged products and updates were real and which were obviously fake.
Brands were wise not to turn a deaf ear to Tuesday’s tomfoolery. The brands who chose to participate got exactly what they try to achieve every day through their marketing efforts: conversations about their brand, engagement and a whole lot of attention. (Yes, Google, I’m talking to you.)
How April Fools’ Day campaigns are examples of smart marketing
In a society heavily influenced by the Internet, I think it’s incredibly smart for brands to get their name out there and talked about with humorous pranks about false, yet entertaining news and updates regarding their business.
One of the most important aspects of branding is giving your brand a voice that speaks to and resonates with your audience. Brands give themselves a very human attribute on April Fools’ Day: a sense of humor.
According to TIME in the article, April Fools Day is No Joke, humor has been shown to, “significantly enhance relationships, romantic and otherwise.”
Shouldn’t a main goal of any brand or business be the enhancement of relationships with their target audience? In my opinion, many brands took this goal and ran with it Tuesday. Those brands whose April Fools’ Day campaigns resonated with audiences will almost certainly reap long-term benefits.
Here is my personal favorite from the personable beer brand, Sam Adams:
Another favorite from a local Buffalo business, supplier of professional bar and drinking supplies (there’s a theme, here), KegWorks:
In an attempt to help us all laugh at the merciless winter we had in Buffalo, NY and the infamous Polar Vortex that tortured much of North America with unprecedented low temperatures , KegWorks’ prank featured the Polar Vortex Buffalo Stout Homebrew Ingredient Kit. The kit was to include a five-gallon bucket of snow, one pack of untreated road salt, a pack of WNY Pothole Hops as well as traditional brewing ingredients – genius.
Why society can benefit from a brand’s humor
Also according to TIME, “The average American adult laughs just 18 times a day.” This is down quite a bit from the eight per hour experienced back at age five. Apparently, this is a problem.
Have you ever seen the movie The Purge? It’s scary, so I’ll cut to my point: The world needs one day to release from the seriousness we face on a daily basis and take a moment to laugh and take things less seriously. Brands took the time and resources to help us do that and laugh at themselves while doing it.
SAP’s Head of Social Strategy, Todd Wilms, wrote on the topic Tuesday for Forbes.com equating April Fools’ Day fun to an experience completely human.
“Today may be the most human day of all.” Wilms said in the article. With brands taking larger strides to humanize themselves, maybe he has a point.
“We all have a personality and the vast majority of our personalities gravitate toward fun and enjoyment.” – Todd Wilms.
But please, know when enough is enough
There are of course, many people who believe that the jokes should stay within the walls of a company and not be forced in front of their audience. It certainly leaves a lot of room for confusion.
Hovering around 14 pranks this year, Google definitely took the gold when it comes to most active brand on Tuesday. Since this is a yearly goal for Google, I’d personally be curious to see their yearly pranking budget.
With so many pranks released Tuesday by the Internet authority, it seemed like there weren’t enough hours in the day to digest all the jokes Google threw at us.
In their defense, it was Gmail’s actual 10th birthday – so I guess they can prank if they want to.
All in all, it’s over and the world has gone back to normal. Everyone can throw (most) caution out the window while perusing the Internet for the rest of the year; the prank purge has ended and normalcy has ensued – for the most part, anyway. Until next year, jokesters!
“Mama Didn’t Raise No Fool!” How Both Brands and Society Benefit From April Fools’ Day