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kidding around

Fooled Ya! Brands' April Fools' Day Jokes

Posted by Shirley Brady on April 1, 2011 10:00 AM

Happy April Fools' Day! Some of the better branded pranks today, starting with YouTube's 100th anniversary nod to the best viral videos — sorry, "pictures" — a century ago, with a wink to their modern-day inspiration. Also part of the gag: vintage merchandise and a "1911" button (above right) at the bottom of videos today, turning them into silent films with an old-timey scratchy, sepia-toned look.

Below, check out more April Fooling Around from BMW, Ford, Groupon, Ikea, KFC, LinkedIn, Nike, Starbucks, Toshiba, Virgin, Whole Foods, and more — and let us know what you think of it all by commenting on our debate.

YouTube's parent, Google, is pulling out the stops today. In addition to announcing Comic Sans as its official font, it also unveiled a fake product enhancement: with Gmail Motion, a Kinect-inspired suite of email shortcuts:

Also: Google is hiring

Nike reveals the secret of Nike Air (tip-off: that's comedian David Koechner, also in Denny's new campaign):

Toshiba goes one better than 3D glasses with a 3D monocle ("so real, be careful what you watch"):

BMW fooled European auto fans with a tricked out M3 pickup, while a half-page "Royal Edition" M3 Coupe ad in The Guardian directs inquiries to "pauline.yorleg@bmw.co.uk" (among other April Fools' jokes in the UK involving the upcoming royal nuptials):

Groupon claims it has trademarked the term "April Fools' Day," rebranding it to "Groupon Presents April Fools’ Day™":

Kodak is offering photo tattoos ("Must be at least 21 years old to purchase"):

...and a Relationshiffft APP (short for Automated Person Purge) to remove unloved ones:

Starbucks unveiled a mobile pour app:

Nando's restaurants debunked a #ripnandos Twitter rumor that it's closing:

Check out the PlayMobil Apple store play set, complete with mini Steve Jobs and an optional line pack with a Segway-riding Steve Wozniak (devised by ThinkGeek, whose other April Fools' items includes an edible iPhone case):

KFC riffs on its bun-less Double Down sandwich with an all-bun "less chickeny" sandwich (via):

Windstream Communications announced WinLive, "the world's first age-inhibiting serum":

Whole Foods plays Cupid, part of its homepage mockover today:

Ryanair, known for some outlandish moves, fooled (or was it real?) the public with its "child-free flights" news:

Ford Focus spokespuppet "Doug" posted this video message:

Ikea Australia came up with the Hudstol dog high chair, featuring built-in feeding bowls and a hole for your pup's tail:

LinkedIn came up with a waggish list of "People You May Know":

HMG Paints, the UK's biggest independent paint manufacturer, slyly announced a line of 3D paints.

Master prankster Richard Branson announced that Virgin had bought Pluto with plans to reinstate it as a planet:

And at least one brand fooled the public with the wrong message — GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons' elephant-shooting video was at first thought to be a pre-April Fool's Day stunt, but when it turned out to be real he was attacked by PETA and others. Did he care?

Any other noteworthy stunts today? Drop a line to tips@brandchannel.com and we'll update our gallery! And don't forget to weigh in on this week's debate: "Branded April Fools' Day Pranks — Smart Marketing or Annoying?"


Tom Hoehn United States says:

...and don't forget, also this from Kodak: Relationshiffft APP (Automated Person Purge). Change status? Don't delete - Relationshiffft - http://kodak.ly/g0RdX4

April 1, 2011 12:38 PM #

S. Brady United States says:

Love it. Added, thanks!

April 1, 2011 12:58 PM #

Sandro United States says:

LinkedIn did a good one with their "People You may Know" recommendations:

April 1, 2011 03:36 PM #

S. Brady (brandchannel) United States says:

Great; thanks!

April 1, 2011 08:10 PM #

Stephen dyson United Kingdom says:

how about some 3D paint from a UK paint manufacturer.


April 1, 2011 04:38 PM #

S. Brady United States says:

Added; thanks!

April 1, 2011 07:25 PM #

Arlene Teck United States says:

See also: "Firms Cash in on Edible Advertising"  aired on Marketplace From American Public Media at this link: http://bit.ly/f79sJn

Also here:

Sally Herships did a great job sneaking up on us!

April 4, 2011 08:13 AM #

Tom Jeffrey United States says:

One more - Duracell sponsor's a Folly Beach, South Carolina lighthouse: hookworldwide.com/.../

April 4, 2011 09:41 AM #

S. Brady (brandchannel) United States says:

Another one: how Animal Planet fooled fans (and Ryan Seacrest) with Bronx Zoo cobra prank: http://bit.ly/hLQIch

April 4, 2011 09:47 AM #

Audrey Ng Singapore says:

The pictures in this Facebook album say it all!

An ad ran on 30th March advertising "of-fish-cially the best Fish n Chips at $399"

On April 1, the cat was let out of the bag when another ad ran where a crew member positioned a decimal place between 3 and 99, bringing the selling price to $3.99, resulting in a huge ruckus online and snaking lines at the 9 restaurants in Singapore.

April 4, 2011 10:52 AM #

S. Brady (brandchannel) United States says:

Got it, just clicked on your name to check them out; thanks, Audrey!

April 4, 2011 11:07 AM #

S. Brady (brandchannel) United States says:

And here's Marketing Week's round-up of UK brands' pranks: http://j.mp/gipIYA

April 4, 2011 08:28 PM #

Comments are closed

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