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Brands got ‘funny’ for April Fools’ Day


Brands got ‘funny’ for April Fools’ Day


Here are a few examples of brands getting in on the 1 April fun this year.

In the past few days, Marketing has received the usual number of joke press releases about new outlandish products and ad campaigns. Despite being entirely false, the press material also tends to contain more spelling and grammar mistakes than usual.

Still, there are always a few media outlets that fall for the releases every year. It’s all in good fun.

But how funny is it, and, is it a worthwhile exercise in branding?

We live in a world where consumers need to feel included and switched-on to a brand’s persona. Companies the world over – desperate to shake off the stuffy, big-business image – are rushing to support community causes and charity organisations. They’re embracing storytelling to build connections with consumers and humanise their public images.

But is being funny an important part of this?

It’s the marketing equivalent of the dad joke. The best, most successful pranks tend to garner a light chuckle at best, while the majority just prompt eye-rolls.

A good Fast Company article by Cale Guthrie Weissman also raised the point that in the fake news era, the last thing we need is a wave of fake news.

“In the age of fake news,” says Weissman, “the idea of playing ‘gotcha’ with the media feels especially bad and unfunny. After witnessing an election influenced by hoaxes and now contending with a president who constantly tweets demonstrably false information, people don’t want to guess what’s real and what isn’t anymore. We’re tired.”

Like them or not, here’s some we’ve seen so far.

Virgin Australia’s canine crew


Audible.com.au launches ‘Tap & Sniff’ mobile plug-in device

This world first plug-in device will dispatch a scent to match the scene of audio books users are currently listening to.

“Over the past two years we have worked with leading fragrance chemists to refine the technology and have worked collaboratively with authors to ensure the scents truly encapsulate the essence of each individual audiobook,” says Audible’s Tracey Markham.

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Foodora courts galactic menu partner

Foodora announced it is in the middle of working on prototype food samples for space missions.

“Iconic films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Martian, and Alien gave us all a pretty good idea that the food in Space isn’t exactly desirable…. unless of course freeze dried vegetables and vacuum packed treats are your thing,” says a release.

“Foodora is currently looking for a space mission partner, so it can showcase what it’s hailing as a first of its kind in-flight galactic menu.”



Me launches Snag debit card

Me will tomorrow launch Snag, “a new debit card that reimburses customers on sausage sizzle purchases.”

In honour of the Australian sausage in bread “a national icon and the taste of Australian democracy,” it is fitted with cutting-edge ‘SmellWave’ technology that detects the aroma of sausages cooking so customers tap the card on a sausage and $2.50 is deposited in their account.

The brown card comes with a bread-textured phone case.


eHarmony: magnetic phones

eHarmony is introducing ‘magnetism’ to its dating app. “The feature will bring a whole new meaning to the laws of attraction, quite literally dragging you and your perfect match together in the real world, by turning your eHarmony app on your phone into an incredibly strong magnet,” says the release.

“Instant magnetism is so essential to finding love, so we thought we’d cut out the talk and just add it directly to the eHarmony app,” says eHarmony Australia managing director Nicole McInnes. “When the feature is turned on, a powerful force draws together the phones of two people that are highly compatible, making it impossible for them not to meet.”



Infiniti Telecommunications: revolutionary new customer experience

This one pokes satire at teh company’s own customer service reputation, and at telcos outsourcing call centres overseas and to robots. The company introduces new telecommunications chatbots, and boasts “there is no limit to the amount of simultaneous complaints our new virtual customer service team can handle.”

“The Australian consumer is very resilient, by how they’ve continued to put up with the poor customer service from the big three telcos in this country. The level of support and communication of these overseas call centres has been appalling, so we know in time, customers will learn to accept this as well,” says Sarah B, head of customer experience in this video.

ING Direct: smartphone that prints money

ING direct has introduced its iTM smartphone, which, with the latest in 3D printing technology, can print cash notes on demand.

“While many of our customers are embracing mobile payments, there are still those who still prefer cash ad we want to make sure we support that choice,” says John Arnott, executive director, customers at ING Direct.

“With the iTM, customers will no longer have to find an ATM in order to withdraw money.”

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Burger King France: Whopper-flavoured toothpaste

Burger Kind and agency Buzzman teamed up with experts to reproduce the iconic Whopper flavour and combine it with active ingredients for optimal teeth and gum hygiene.

Why? Because the burger is “so generous and tasty that its fans would do anything to make its unique flame grilled beef taste last longer.”

It’s promoted by this video, and apparently the toothpaste will be available in restaurants and drugstores soon.

Ben Ice

Ben Ice was MarketingMag editor from August 2017 - February 2020

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