April Fools’ Day can be a journalist’s worst nightmare as they try to avoid falling prey to the hundreds of spoof news releases which land in their inbox in the run-up to the day. Of course the 1st April embargo is usually a giveaway but companies, especially the big brands like Virgin and BMW, are getting smarter and using photos, video and infographics in an attempt to make their story seem plausible.
And even if they fail to dupe the journalists, brands can now of course directly target the poor unsuspecting members of the public via the internet which lends itself nicely to this kind of tomfoolery.
Even the most ludicrous of stories can go viral within minutes with the help of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, which is why an increasing number of companies are cottoning on to the power of the April Fools’ joke.
Not only is April Fools’ Day a good opportunity to show that your business has got a sense of humour, but it reminds people what you actually do. For example, Warburtons today announced plans to build a new skyscraper in central London which will be aptly named The Loaf. The two bread-shaped buildings will effectively ‘sandwich’ the Gherkin and Facebook fans can influence the shape of the final designs by nominating their favourite Warburtons product.
Meanwhile Virgin Atlantic, who have become famous for their April Fools’ japes, have announced a new Total Temperature Control feature, which allows passengers to set their own climate from the comfort of their seat ranging from Chicago Polar Vortex to Cancun Afternoon! This not only reminds people of the destinations they fly to but also plays on the airline’s core brand values of innovation and excellent customer service.
And last but not least our own client Jerry Green Dog Rescue Centre has announced today that it is teaching the dogs new skills to help them get re-homed more quickly, such as how to wash up, send text messages and answer the telephone! The story has been published by the Scunthorpe Telegraph and, as I discovered earlier when I was being interviewed by BBC Radio Lincolnshire presenter Melvyn Prior, almost fooled an experienced reporter (not mentioning any names!).
Based on the success of this year we’re already preparing a bigger and better spoof for April Fools’ Day 2015 – so watch out Leigh! KS