Top10 brand pranks for April Fools Day 2013
There are probably some basic requirements governing what makes for a good brand prank:
- Believability: to a certain degree, or there’ll be no Fools,
- humour: this can be before or after people realise it’s a prank, but if it’s not funny, what’s the point? and
- positive or neutral: make sure you choose something that were it actually true, wouldn’t be damaging to the brand.
Here’s our list. What brand shenanigans did you spot? And did you fall for any of them?
Whatever your favourite, April Fools Day 2013 proves one thing yet again: that Google apparently has money and time to burn for these things.
10. Nokia turns up the heat with its first microwave oven
The touchscreen on the Nokia 5AM-TH1N6 Constellation can be operated while wearing oven mitts, and the product comes with a selection of apps, sensors and a high-resolution PureFood camera that automatically shares pictures of ready meals with friends and family via social networks. According to Nokia:
The Constellation will begin shipping in Q2 at a suggested retail price of €399 before taxes or subsidies. More models, including a mini variant targeted towards people with small appetites, and a 10-inch variant aimed at no one in particular, are also planned.
9. Gmail Blue
When Gmail was launched, the technology was simply not available to make one part of the original plans for the email service come to life. But now the geniuses toiling away on Gmail have made it happen (although there was the ‘brown’ hiccup). Richard Pargo, project manager, explains: “In trying to bring email into the 21st century we were faced with a challenge: how do we completely redesign and recreate something while keeping it exactly the same? The answer is Gmail Blue.” The video even features a cameo from the Blue Man Group.
8. Kogan to open first bricks-and-mortar store
“Ruslan Kogan founder and CEO of Kogan.com said the timing was perfect for the company’s first foray into bricks and mortar,” goes the press release. Perfect timing indeed. This flagship store will even have free Wi-Fi. And then the comments kick in:
“Our Chadstone flagship store will be massive! While you won’t be able to read reviews and what thousands of customers thought about our products, you will be able to hear what our incentivised sales staff have to say about them. The rent in Chadstone is up there with the highest in the world, but it offers us an unprecedented opportunity to set up a store in Australia’s Fashion Capital.
The opening party sounds like one heck of an event, too, with special guests including Ellen DeGeneres, Ricky Martin, Ryan Gosling, and Zac Efron, “just to name a few”.
Vimeo is no more, but unlike YouTube it’s not shutting down completely. Vimeo has taken the next step towards reaching ‘peak internet’, where the web finally achieves its ultimate destiny. It shall now be known as Vimeow. Writes Kitty Trainor, chief executive meowfficer, in a blog post:
We’ve been building an innovative platform — one that you can sit on and survey your domain; tenderly rub up against; or scratch fervently, as if trying to claw the eyes out of the human who refuses to put more food in your bowl. It’s a place to hide when people come over, and a way to connect with other feral, potentially rabid strays. It’s the home for your cat videos. It’s called Vimeow.
Vimeow now lets users ‘Patiently Stalk’ instead of ‘Following’, the forum has been renamed ‘The Litterbox’ and a special feature lets creators add aloofness to any video, just like their indifferent feline stars.
6. Feeling frisky? Mini app ‘Connect Us’ finds you the perfect partner for a hot date
Any car these days can find you a petrol station, but this new Mini feature can find much more than that. Says the BMW Group’s announcement:
This is not just the world’s speediest dating service, it is also the most reliable. Here, at last, is a matchmaker that goes beyond personal interests, favourite activities and how you like to spend your free time – and gets down to the nitty-gritty: driving style. Connect Us compares how drivers like to treat their accelerator, steering wheel and brakes (as deduced by the Mini Driving Excitement Analyser) in the search for a compatible co-driver on the journey of love.
5. Smelling is believing: Google Nose
‘The new scentsation in search’, and other wordplays, such as:
- Coming to your senses: go beyond type, talk, and touch for a new notation of sensation
- your internet sommelier: expertly curated Knowledge Panels pair images, descriptions, and aromas,
- take a whiff: the Google Aromabase – 15M+ scentibytes, and
- Don’t ask, don’t smell: For when you’re wary of your query – SafeSearch included.
4. Ikea flatpack lawnmower
It’s called the GRÄSSAX, and it’s designed for small outdoor living spaces. The flat-pack GRÄSSAX lawnmower can be constructed and packed away in 12 simple stages and stored neatly in the smallest of spaces in between use. Powered using a rechargeable battery, the GRÄSSAX lawnmower is not only good for the planet but offers freedom from the limits of cables and extension leads. IKEA designer Ingrid Lindengreen comments:
“We understand that the home is where we have the most fun with the people we love – this definition should stretch outside too. When we were designing GRÄSSAX we were conscious that people live with little or shrinking garden space. That’s why, GRÄSSAX is designed to be stored easily in a small space, it is easy to assemble, environmentally friendly and affordable!”
3. The competition is over: YouTube closes down
This whole time, YouTube was one big contest to find the world’s best video. And now, entries have closed.
Thanks for all your great entries. YouTube finally has enough videos to begin selecting a winner. What do you think is the #bestvideo on YouTube? We’ve been thrilled with all of the diverse, creative entries we’ve seen so far, and we can’t wait to begin the process of selecting the best video.
The winner will be announced… in 10 years.
2. Virgin launches glass-bottomed plane
Serial entrepreneur/billionaire/prankster Sir Richard Branson took to his blog on 1 April to announce the world’s first glass-bottom plane, coming to Virgin Atlantic.
— richardbranson (@richardbranson) April 1, 2013
This one scores extra points because it works in a legitimate announcement about Virgin Atlantic’s new Scotland routes.
1. Play-Doh 3D Printer
Why buy things when you can print them yourself, asks ThinkGeek? Why indeed. And with this entry-level 3D printer from the much-loved clay brand at $49.99 it sounds like a steal. The bad news is it’s not real. The good news, however, is that ThinkGeek is in the habit of turning some of its prank products into the real thing (such as with the 8-Bit Tie, Star Wars Tauntaun Sleeping Bag, and iPad Arcade Cabinet). We’re thinking the tech for this one might not quite be there yet, though…
Vegemite rebrands to ‘Yankymite’
“The re-branding will be effective from early morning on 1.4.2013 and will begin an exciting new era for the product in Australia,” says the statement from ‘Kraft’s Marketing Department’. The press conference ends with a spot for Dick Smith’s Ozemite. We’re disallowing this one because, first, the video was posted last week, and second, if you’re taking a swipe at the brand’s Americanisation at least have ‘Kraft’s Marketing Department’ write the date 4.1.2013.
Rekorderlig announces cider shortage
Of our basic rules at the top, this ‘prank’ by Swedish cider brand Rekorderlig has missed two out of three. It’s not funny, and it would be terrible for the brand if it were true (or even if a few people were fooled). It is believable, we guess, because why would you make this up? Rekorderlig Australia posted this to its Facebook page yesterday morning:
Time magazine’s 1 April 2013 cover
Unfortunately, this one’s no joke. Well, the cover is not intended to be a joke by the venerable news magazine, although you could say the coverline is.
Slate.com calls it The Worst Magazine Cover of the Year and labels it “wrong, grandiose, and cruel,” with the problem being that Time has taken an article about entrepreneurial teams set up to accelerate the find for cancer treatments and sold it with this particular coverline. With an asterisk thrown in for some reason.