The Worst Blog Post You’ll Ever Read… April Fool’s!
On April Fool’s Day, we get the chance to play light-hearted tricks on our friends, families, and co-workers. But companies can join the fun, too! ThinkGeek released a bunch of fake products, like the swim desk and the Tentacuddle Wrap. Auntie Anne’s updated their logo to include the ever-popular flower crown Snapchat filter. And Amazon joined in by announcing their new product “Petlexa,” which is similar to Alexa, but for pets. Not to be outdone, Google announced the availability of Google Gnome, so customers can turn their outdoor spaces into Smart Yards to go with their Smart Homes.
In addition, other companies joined in the fun to send some pretty silly marketing campaigns. While it might seem counter-intuitive to promote fake products, these campaigns engage and entertain customers, and work to build loyalty.
Here are some of my favorites:
Munchkin announced a new app called “BabyTalk”. That’s every parent’s dream invention, right? Imagine being able to translate every cry or sound your baby makes – no more guessing games! This prank was fantastic because Munchkin is very innovative, so it was pretty believable at first. But once you clicked through the email, you were taken to a landing page that told you it was a joke. This page also included a call-to-action button leading you to “actual Munchkin products,” which was a great technique to get customers browsing once the joke was over!
Francesca’s is my absolute favorite dress shop because everything is uber girly. I’m talking lace, glitter, tassels, and floral patterns galore. That’s what made their prank so funny – this feminine brand pretended to create a men’s line called “Mancesca’s”. They even went as far as to dress men up in leather jackets with floral tops, chokers, and overall shorts. If you click through the email, you were taken to a landing page with more hilarious pictures of these guys and a 20% off coupon to get you shopping.
When you were a kid, Friendly’s was probably your go-to birthday destination for a discounted sundae and sweet red balloon. So when I saw an email from them in my inbox with the subject line: “No more kids at Friendly’s?!” I was initially surprised. There’s no way they could keep the adorable children away from their cute sundaes! But of course, it was an April Fool’s joke. For being a good sport, they offered a coupon for a free kids’ meal at the bottom of the email.
I loved these emails because they strayed away from any hard selling pitches and just had fun with the holiday. It definitely made me laugh and, in my eyes, it makes the brand more transparent, which improved the relationship I have with the brand. In addition to that, my first instinct when I see something funny is to share it with my friends. Funny content = free word of mouth advertising!
You don't have to wait until next April Fool's Day to try tactics like these. While I wouldn't recommend going all out jokey, you can apply some of the same soft selling strategies to your current campaigns. In particular, engage customers with creative messaging and content. You don't need to constantly ask customers to buy from you. Sharing videos, articles, blog posts and other creative content goes a long way in engaging customers and building loyalty.
What do you think of these ideas?