Are April Fools Day Marketing Campaigns Worthwhile For Your Brand – “The 4-Question Test”

Brands all over the world love to come up with unique, inspiring, and creative campaigns or events on important holidays or global celebratory days. Out of all these celebrations, there is one such day that some brands still fear to be a part of, i.e., “April Fool’s Day”.

Brands all over the world love to come up with unique, inspiring, and creative campaigns or events on important holidays or global celebratory days like New Year’s Eve, Friendship Day, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, etc. Out of all these celebrations, there is one such day that some brands still fear to be a part of, i.e., “April Fool’s Day”. Even to this day 1st of April is still considered to be a little bit confusing and tricky to many marketers across the globe.

Celebratory events or days are usually a goldmine to marketers as they create opportunities for capitalization by bringing more focus on the product and services that they are marketing. April Fool Day is no exception. This is the perfect day for brands to think of creative jokes to entertain their customers and gather their attention keeping in mind the brand image is also protected. Even if creating a humorous email campaign or joke ad is risky, it is worthwhile taking the plunge as data shown by NewsWhip Analytics. The below data is collected for the years April 2018 and April 2019 and it shows that for big brands like McDonald’s, Starbucks, LEGO, etc, the engagement rate of April Fools Facebook posts is much higher than these brands’ average post interactions.

april fool's day marketing data

Humor is a very effective tool for marketers as they help brands to connect better with their audience and increase the company’s morale. It captures attention and hooks potential customers. Audiences like to be drawn in and April Fool’s Day is the best day for marketers to grab your potential audience’s attention with hilarious and fun ads. It is a day when marketers get the license to go crazy and all out and also sometimes come up with unique ideas which can be later converted into new products, services, or trends. One such example is Twitter’s 2013 prank in which it introduced a two-tiered service – a free version called ‘Twttr’, where users can only use consonants, and the full Twitter service in which users can use vowels but will have to pay $5 per month.

The question still remains whether to pursue April Fool Day’s marketing campaign or not? To proceed with your campaign you have to ask the right questions. Let’s go through those questions step by step:

Question 1: Ask Yourself Whether Creating An April Fool’s Joke Is The Right Way To Go Forward For Your Brand’s Image Or Identity?

Marketers need to understand whether an April Fool Day joke is worthwhile for their brand. Firstly, a marketer should be well acquainted with the brand’s culture and then they should decide whether to use an edgy or conventional, or no April Fool’s day prank. Secondly, it is very important to align whatever joke they are going to use in the campaign to be in harmony with what story they want their brand to portray to the potential audience. A perfect example of such an aligned April Fool’s Day marketing campaign is MacDonald’s introducing the McPickle Burger on 1st April of 2019. This campaign received approximately 179,000+ engagements, i.e, like, shares and comments.

mcdonalds april fool's day marketing

Source: McDonald’s Instagram

Another perfect example of a prank pulled by a company by remaining true to its brand is Blue Moon Brewing Company which released Blue Moon’s beer-infused oranges as an April Fool Day’s prank.


Source: Blue Moon Brewing Co. Twitter

Question 2: Is Your Audience Or Customers Ready Enough To Accept Your Joke?

Every marketer should not only be aware of their brand’s culture but also be aware of the customer the brand caters to. So, marketers need to create a customer profile by age, gender, location, and interest before deciding on what type of jokes to use in the campaign. If a brand is catering to a more aged customer, too much joking can be frowned upon or lead to disaster and on the other hand, if the brand is targeting more teenage centric customers then funky jokes will be more welcomed than conventional or safe ones. To make an April Fool’s Day campaign it’s important to understand the reaction of the viewers and back it up with solid data so that the April Fool Day campaign can be targeted to those audiences only who can accept them or are ready enough.

A brand-named Innocent which makes healthy drinks did the mistake of not studying their customer properly before pulling a prank where they made clueless people eat toothpaste-filled cookies live on camera. Though this prank got nearly 21k views but not angered a few viewers because of their poor camera work and received more than 600 angry comments on boring their audience also being a little far away from what their brand name depicts.


Question 3: Is There Any Chance Of The Campaign Backfiring?

There is always a high risk of your pranks backfiring and that can have a disastrous effect on your company image. Therefore, it can also turn your audience against you quickly. So, before releasing an April Fool Day’s prank it’s highly important to measure the pros and cons of the campaign as a marketer. April Fool’s Day of 2016 bears the evidence of how much a not well-thought-out prank can cost a brand. On 1st April of 2016, Gmail pulled a Mic – Drop prank where they added a ‘send and mic drop’ feature to Gmail which attached a Minion-version mic-drop GIF to the email copy automatically. The send button for this GIF was a mirror image of the actual email send button and this caused a huge uproar as a lot of users mistakenly attached this GIF to business associates, clients, and even bosses which caused many of them their jobs and also losses in business deals. After this incident, Google had to apologize in a blog post.

Question 4: What Does Your Brand Wish To Achieve Through This Campaign?

April Fools’ Day campaign can be used to achieve an increase in sales and increase in the number of customers. The role of this type of campaign is to create buzz around the brand to raise awareness among the customers and also increase traffic. It can also be used to show the potential of the product or service you are marketing. One example of such a campaign is #Pupbucks by Starbucks. The ad announced the opening of an outlet for puppies. This campaign reached an engagement of more than, 65000. Another similar evidence of the brand achieving good traffic due to their hilarious and creative content on April Fool Day is Amazon’s Petlexa which showed the concept of how pets can control and use amazon echo. This campaign again was a hit and it achieved a lot of customer’s attention as it was funny and cute and also showed the potential of how much Amazon Echo can perform.

Another example of such a campaign is PayPal’s claim that smartphone users can soon be able to print money from their phones. Though it is technologically not viable currently but this tweet brought in a lot of attention and created brand awareness.

Though April Fool’s Day campaign can be a challenge for marketers to be creative as well as make sure their jokes don’t go too far and harm their brand’s image or disappoint their potential customers. So, if you are up for this marketing challenge and willing to take the risk then it’s important to remove the fear of failure and just dive in. On that note, a quote given by Dan Waldschmidt comes to mind, “Success looks a lot like failure up until the moment you break through the finish line.”

So, marketers are you ready to break your hesitations and fear and plunge into the celebration of April Fool’s Day?

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