April Fools 2012

The first of April, “April Fools” day, was this year as inventive, fun and playful for brands with a cheeky side as ever before.

 

From Virgin’s hopes to drill to the centre of the earth to “green” champagne and old school NIntendo maps on Google earth, social media and tech played a joker’s apprentice part in spreading some Spring japes as big brands and names took the chance to lighten the mood.

 

The Mail on Sunday used the date to investigate the VAT rise on junk foods by posing the opposite scenario -  a fabricated report that the government plans to limit damage caused by adding VAT to pasties by allowing a “green” tax on chilled champagne. The bubbly piece was written, of course, written by Pru Cremier. Similarly, on the ‘pastygate’ theme, the Guardian reported that  “In a move that will astonish both critics and supporters, David Cameron has appointed the controversial Happy Mondays star Shaun Ryder as a special adviser on social class, following a series of political missteps since the budget.” Brilliant.

 

Media giant Simon Cowell enjoyed a “bro-mance” with David Walliams, and images of the pair on a swan pedalo, enjoying a park picnic and generally frolicking were published by the Sunday Mirror. According to photographer “Aprile Sciocco”, “’They had a great heart-to-heart about women, cars, clothes and how they like their steaks cooked – it was a proper blokey afternoon out.’It was so good to see the chemistry between them works just as well off screen.’

 

Google turned old school with a version of Google Maps for the  ‘long neglected’ Nintendo Entertainment system (NES), a game affectionately remembered by fans for pixelated graphics. As Tatsuo Nomura, a Google software engineer said on Google’s official Maps blog: ‘With Google Maps 8-bit, you can do all the things you already do on regular Google Maps.Search for famous landmarks and sites around the world. Take an epic journey with 8-bit Street View. Get detailed directions to avoid dangerous paths, and battle your way through a world of powerful monsters and mystic treasures.’

 

Mashable had a take over by comedian Conan O’ Brien, who was seen on the site in a video saying “I’m sick and tired of scanning the Internet looking for any news about technology: Devices, gadgets, what’s coming up, maybe even a rating system for gadgets that are out there. It doesn’t exist on the web and it’s high time it did,’

 

Retro game revival also appeared on tech site ThinkGeek.com whose prank Hungry Hippo’s gadget  announced it would allow users to combine old school 80’s games with an iPad for the digital generation;  ‘All four hippos are present and hungry, except this time, the hippos fit over your iPad and the game board is an app!’ said press release for the supposed $29.99 app.

 

YouTube also went nostalgic as they launched The YouTube Collection, bringing the contents into users living rooms, with the visual joke of huge delivery boxes arriving in a woman’s lounge.

 

Richard Branson announced his new project Virgin Volcanic, announcing: “using patented carbon-carbon materials pioneered for deep space exploration, Virgin is proud to announce a revolutionary new vehicle, VVS1, which will be capable of plunging three people into the molten lava core of an active volcano.” Tom Hanks was announced to be on the first expedition.

 

Which pranks did you enjoy the most? Were you fooled by any of them? Do you think brands should take part in April Fools?

 

If you are looking for a unique branding strategy, brief the Exchange now!

 

Jo

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