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 "email@example.com" (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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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?"