The prankster’s favourite day of the year is on the horizon – April Fool’s Day. We all know what makes a decent April Fool’s prank on friends and family; an unsuspecting Whoopie cushion here, a loosened salt shaker there, but what makes a successful marketing April Fool’s campaign?
The obvious point to preface this with is; don’t be mean spirited. If you have to ask yourself, “will this receive backlash?” Then don’t go for it. You don’t want to make the mistake of cracking a tone deaf joke and then putting off your audience: it’s not worth the potential damage to your company’s reputation.
It’s better to be safe than sorry, so instead think about how you can get a little chuckle out of people by being lighthearted, or even better, how can you get that wonderful eye roll after landing a glorious pun or dad joke?
Now, with that out the way, we have more dos and don’ts of April Fools Day marketing!
Originality doesn’t mean you have to try and reinvent the wheel every time you publish. In the same vein, not every joke is a winner.
This is a common goal for any company wanting to join in on April Fool’s Day, and you’ll want to be innovative, but don’t be tempted to wrack the brains of your marketing department too hard if the ideas are falling flat. In that case, it’s better to hold off for the year because there’s no point in posting just to have something to post, as it won’t benefit your company in the long run.
Remain on brand
Keeping your brand voice and identity ensures two things, 1) believability so you fool your audience and, 2) no alienation of that audience. Once they’re in on the joke they’ll love it, and they’ll love the tone of voice you’ve already established.
Having a successful April Fool’s Day prank or campaign shows off what kind of company you are. Audiences like to relate to brands because it means they share similar values, and as the saying goes – people buy from people.
If you don’t remain on brand, an established audience can feel a bit cheated. On the other hand, any new followers you gain from the off-brand joke could do deeper research into your company and discover that you’re not what they thought you were and won’t be interested in following you.
So stay on brand, show how non-serious you can be, and just have a bit of fun with everyone!
Commit to the bit
Commit fully to the bit. The fun of April Fools is about two parties; the Fool and the Jester. Don’t belittle your audience by demeaning their ability to take a joke – by which we mean, As the Jester in this situation, whatever you publish shouldn’t reveal itself too soon. Let the Fool be Fooled and enjoy the joke once they’re in on it.
Look internally at your brand for that joke. If you look at current trends it may not land as well; the prank has been diluted and driven into the ground. Does your company have a common misspelling? Is there a tongue-in-cheek ‘product’ that you can launch? You could even partner up with another company with shared brand values and make a big splash with the reveal!
Don’t be too serious
Everyone knows what day it is. The significance of the day may slip their mind until they see your post, then check their calendar and realise, but if you’ve taken yourself too seriously then it’s not really a joke. So ask yourself, for example if you’re planning a ‘product’ launch, “Is this an actual product we could release?” If yes, then you’ve taken it too seriously. There’s a fine line between believability and just not being funny.
Don’t forget to come clean
You can take all the precaution in the world to make sure it’s at least a bit obvious that it’s just an April Fool’s Day prank, but there will always be people who fully believe in it. To avoid any long-term misunderstandings, always ‘come clean’ some time after the joke has landed so you can let them in on it too!
It’s just a bit of a laugh. It’s also a great opportunity to have fun with your marketing efforts. It’s not all about your business’ KPIs and TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms), you can take off your serious hat for a day.
If you’re feeling stuck for japes, Brace Creative are here to ghostwrite your next stand-up routine! Get in touch either by email: email@example.com or by phone: 01452 729 953 to find out more.