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Fool's Gold - the best marketing campaigns from 1st April

Updated: Apr 9

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of April Fool’s Day? For most of us, it’s likely to be a toilet covered in clingfilm, the office clown hiding the stapler in a jelly, or maybe a whoopee cushion on your teacher’s/mum’s/boss’s chair. But for a social media manager, April Fool’s is about far more than forgettable pranks - it’s a golden marketing opportunity. 

That’s because the global day of jokes is a perfect excuse to take to the internet with an attention-grabbing PR campaign. You probably noticed a few; social posts that made you pause your scrolling to decide whether, for example, Pepsi was really adding milk to its range. 

A great deal of thought goes into this humorous content. April the 1st has become something of a ‘marketing holiday’, with some companies dedicating large sums of their marketing budgets to coming up with the most amusing fake product, clever photoshopped image or outlandish collaboration. But why does a prank have such an impact?

Firstly, it builds an image. The age of the internet has changed the way we interact with brands. We - the consumers - don’t want to be ‘sold to’ on social media; we want to feel as though we’re viewing the posts of a friend, or perhaps a celebrity. A brand that shows it has a sense of humour makes it seem more human, and if it can make fun of itself it adds relatability. Joking around is a display of personality. 

Then there’s the attention-grabbing side to a good PR stunt. The funnier and more original the bogus launch, the more likely it is to draw a reaction from the mainstream media. If a big name comes out with an extremely unlikely campaign, it’ll often receive coverage and shares from other high-profile accounts, or even make a news story. Marketers need to be attention-seekers, because attention = exposure!

This type of organic image generation plays a huge part in a brand’s success in our social media-driven world. It’s no longer enough to pay for a few billboards and adverts - companies need to build a loyal, long-term online community which will go on to become a customer base. So, whether you’re a global label, a B-corp, a social enterprise, a charity, a small business - or anything in between, April Fool’s Day is an organic marketing opportunity not to be missed.

And in case you need inspiration for next year, here are some of our all-time favourites and Famous Campaigns’ “wackiest” stunts from last week! In seriousness, though - a Duolingo musical is really not a bad idea…

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