Maybe I’m the only one who can’t stand corporate April Fools pranks.
Someone must love them, right? That has to be why every year, we have to have a deluge of stupid name changes, new product announcements, and expensive video explainers that are all 100% pointless and fake.
It isn’t that I don’t have a sense of humor or that I don’t like a prank, but this waste of productive energy is beyond me. Take that creativity and pour it into real marketing, products, and customer service. I dread opening my email every April 1st to see a rush of emails I have to delete now.
Side note: if you are going to release a new product, campaign, or do anything outward-facing for your business, avoid April 1st! The chances are that customers will be unsure about how seriously they should take it.
The Worst Aprils Fools Jokes
- Amazon Petlexa (Alexa for your pet?)
- Google Tulip (Allows you to communicate with flowers like Tulips)
- T-Mobile Onesie (Because it is full coverage?)
- Google Screen Cleaner (It cleans your phone screen from physical gunk the inside out!)
- 1Password Password Book (A physical book where you write down your passwords – a lot of people already do this, so super funny)
- SodaStreamME (Now you can carbonate your soda with your burps – no really – too gross to be funny)
- Audible for Fish (An audiobook experience designed for fish in fishtanks)
- Burger King Chocolate Whopper (I actually might try that)
- Sam’s Club Bulkcoin (A 2017 Sam’s Club cryptocurrency – maybe they are fortune tellers, they should release a real crypto in 2021)
- PupBucks (Starbucks store built for dogs)
- FarmRich Frozen Foods Gender Reveal Mozorella Sticks (I actually think some people would do this – bonus, there is no risk of wildfires)
The craziest thing about this list is they are nearly all from one year!
The Future Now of April Fools
Microsoft gets points from me for advising their various brands against April Fools shenanigans in 2019. In 2020, most brands took a break due to the global pandemic – wise choice. What about 2021?
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Earlier this week, Volkswagen America ‘accidentally released their April Fools joke early by releasing a Press Release on their website of a name to Voltswagen. This gaff is a real-life what not to do – and many in the media are branding it a lie, not a joke. If it is lying when you release your joke early, is it really a joke on April 1st? Does the date magically make it hilarious?
It turns out you shouldn’t make jokes out of ideas people genuinely like.
The One Thing That Keeps Me Up at Night
The one thing that keeps me up at night on March 31st is how much good could be accomplished with the resources spent on literal fake news on April Fools day. Spend that energy and money improving the world around you. In fact, let’s take April 2nd as a chance to re-direct those ideas and dollars into being a creative force for good – and skip the April Fools jokes that are just adding to the noise.
Do you like corporate April Fools jokes? Which are your favorites? Which makes your head hurt?