You’d Be A Fool Not To: How To Engage Your Audience On April The 1st
Spring has (finally) sprung and people are just getting over their chocolate comas from the Easter break but that is not all that has happened recently, we have been treated to another year of April Fools gags from the biggest companies and stars from around the globe. In this blog we are looking at a few of our favourite campaigns from this and years gone by, to ask the question – what works and what falls flat.
Keep it light-hearted
April 1st is not a day for intensity or hard topics, keep the subject light and tongue and cheek.
We love this example of a 2016 prank when clothing retail brand, H&M teamed up with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to launch the ‘Mark Zuckerberg clothing line’. The clothing line poked fun at the digital mogul by being made up of 7 grey plain t-shirts and a pair of plain jeans to accompany. With this being Zuckerberg’s famed look, it showed brand awareness and in turn associated themselves with one of the biggest, trendiest companies around. It was a good move for Zuckerberg too as it showed his funny side.x
Stick with it!
The point is to fool people, don’t immediately follow up with ‘April Fools’ or you’re taking the guessing and fun away!
2018 brought us some cracking April Fools pranks including Burger King’s Chocolate burger and Coca-Cola Zero’s Avocado flavoured beverage. Netflix US took it up a notch by announcing their new partnership with comedic actor Seth Rogan aka ‘Sethflix’. In the short video posted to their social media, it showed Seth reading through his contract stating Netflix has bought him in his entirety, they now own his name, face and everything about him! They have kept a very dead pan attitude to this and have even put for enquiries (or inquiries for the Americans) to firstname.lastname@example.org on their twitter page.
Bravo Netflix, a great innovative company that shows it doesn’t take itself too seriously
Stay on brand
All well and good creating a hilarious prank but no good if it’s not associated with the brand and people talk about the activity and ask, ‘who was that with?’ they’ll remember the celebrity… make sure they know who YOU are too.
We’re back to 2016 and moving on from a great US campaign, we are praising something so utterly British and cheeky, we couldn’t leave out of this blog. It involves tea and a rapper from Hackney. The rapper being Stephen Manderson, better known by his stage name Professor Green. PG tips took their signature pyramid tea bags and paired up with the rapper to launch ‘Professor Green Tea’. So simple yet so effective. By producing the fake product and posting a picture on their and Pro Greens social media, it was immediately a hit and instantly memorable of how to brew up an April Fool the right way!
Make it too personal
You will be opening this gag up to as many people as can be marketed to, do you really want to choose a topic that could cause negative controversy and open you up to a backlash? Keep it brand focused and avoid delving too deep into potential personal issues.
Use as an opportunity to embarrass other brands/ competitors
It’s an opportunity for a brand to show their fun side, don’t use it to be negative at others expense as it can just come across rather petty and leave a sour taste in your consumers’ mouths. Be remembered for being the best and the funniest, not saying others aren’t as good.
Get carried away
Keep your fool clear and concise, an overcomplicated joke can irritate more than amuse.
That concludes our top tips for a successful April Fools campaign. Thank you for reading and if you fancy getting a head start on next year, we’ll be happy to help you find your perfect celebrity counterpart.
By Beth Smithard, Talent Executive at Champions Celebrity Talent Agency.