Which brand’s have had us fooled with their April Fools Day campaigns over the years? From Weetabix beans, to spray on yoga pants, Extreme looks at some of the most creative campaigns from April’s Fools Days gone by.
April Fools Day is a time for brands to push the boundaries when it comes to their marketing, making the most of the opportunity to create elaborate campaigns that show off their cheekier side and engage consumers with wacky PR stunts. It’s a perfect opportunity to drive brand awareness and be at the forefront of the conversation - when done well, that is.
While many of the major brands held off sending out April’s Fools pranks during the pandemic, they’re set to be back up to their old tricks this year. In this blog, we’ll take a look at who’s had us fooled over the years, when others may have missed the mark.
ASDA - Weetabix and Heinz beans in a can
You may remember that back in February 2021, Weetabix posted a tweet of their breakfast cereal topped with Heinz baked beans, which led to a viral twitter thread where over 140 brands got involved, which got everyone talking. From KFC and Specsavers, to the NHS, Ford and Domino’s pizza, brands provided a masterclass on how to use your voice to engage with audiences and get involved in viral moments.
For April Fools Day, supermarket chain ASDA capitalised on the virality of the original tweet with their offering of a Weetabix and Heinz beans tin. Their short video promoting the tin received over 17k views on twitter alone, and was picked up by both national and trade press in coverage of brands’ April Fools pranks.
Building upon viral moments and incorporating them into your April Fools campaign, or at any other time of year, is a great way of remaining at the forefront of conversation and maximising the potential virality of your own marketing.Although completely repulsive as an idea for an actual meal, here at Extreme we loved this April Fools prank.
Lego - smart bricks
Almost everyone has felt the sudden, sharp pain of standing on a piece of lego at least once in their life. Last year, the toy brand announced their newest lego range on April Fools Day - smart bricks.
To avoid the pain and embarrassment of hopping around after standing on the lego, their latest design simply scatters in all directions when it senses a foot approaching. With over 410k views on twitter, 17.1k likes and over three thousand comments, the concept was welcomed by many who could clearly relate to the pain.
This is a brilliant example of tailoring your campaign to address some of the pain points or potential negatives associated with your brand, and making a lighthearted joke about it. There’s no better time of year than April Fools to have a bit of a laugh and poke fun at yourselves.
Duolingo - turn your bathroom into a classroom
Last year, the popular language learning platform created a toilet paper that teaches you common phrases from languages around the world, with the tagline, ‘Turn your bathroom into a classroom’.
With its own landing page and witty copy which included, ‘Soak up essential phrases’, and ‘Absorb all the most useful terminology’, the campaign was a huge hit with consumers. Amassing over 30.3k likes on twitter, and dozens of press mentions around the world, their April Fools prank was a huge success.
We loved the creativity of this campaign, and use of playful landing page copy, so we had to include it in our roundup.
SodaStream - self made sparkling water
Carbonated drinks specialists, SodaStream featured American astronaut Scott Kelly, best known for spending the most time in space in their 2019 April Fools Day campaign.
The space pro was the face of their new SodaStreamMe, an on-the-go bottle that allows you to carbonate your own drink simply by blowing into it, aimed at serial burpers having claimed to solve their surplus gas problem.
To date, the ad has almost 3m views on Youtube, and featured heavily on press roundups of that year’s best April Fools Day rankings. Creative, funny and with the caption, ‘One small burp for man, one sparkling leap for mankind’, it earned a spot on our list too.
McDonalds - milkshake sauce pots
Now then, be honest, have you ever tried dipping your chips into a milkshake? This divisive flavour pairing first grew popular in the States, and soon became known around the world as something you’ve got to try.
It became so popular in fact, that McDonalds incorporated it into their APril Fools Day marketing campaign, announcing mini milkshake sauce pots back in 2019. For those who love the sweet-salty combo, they were overjoyed to see the launch, before realising it was a hoax.
The short ad racked up over 875.6k views on twitter, and over eight thousand likes. While disappointing for some, McDonalds did not go on to launch the mini shake pots. However, that doesn’t mean to say you can’t use April Fools Day to test the waters on how new products may be received.
ThinkGeek are now well known for turning their April Fools Day pranks into actual products you can buy. Their most celebrated one dates back to 2009, with the launch of the Tauntaun sleeping bag which has regularly sold out over the years. With an intestine-print lining and lightsaber zipper, it’s an impressively accurate recreation of the iconic scene in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, and even received a write up in The New York Times.
Lululemon - spray on yoga pants
Back in 2014, comedian Jimmy Kimmel partnered with gym clothing specialists Lululemon to create a spray on yoga pant spoof in response to some schools in the U.S banning their yoga pants for being too tight and ‘causing male students to go through puberty prematurely.’
The product description on their website for the spray on leggings, priced at a whopping $1,200 a can read, "Goodbye pants, hello comfort. Designed for lightweight flexibility and versatility, our newest innovation, Spray-On Yoga Pants, will take us to and through our practice without the fuss. The breathable, seamless construction provides next-level comfort whether we’re headed straight to class or the cafe."
The late night tv show host’s video clip of the segment has to date been viewed almost 6.8m times, and received coverage from media outlets throughout the U.S and beyond. Not only was it witty and creative, it took a stand against the ridiculous and misogynistic rulings from the schools that had banned them. And for that, they had to feature on our roundup!
Is your brand getting involved in April Fools Day in one way or another? If you need help coming up with seasonal campaigns that excite and engage consumers, get in touch! Our team of experts are on hand to help.