Roundtable: The Best of April Fool's Day
Ah, April 1st. The day where everyone thinks they're funny until they're proven wrong beyond a shadow of a doubt. But not everyone lowers themselves to placing a co-worker's favorite stapler in a jello mold, or putting Saran wrap over a toilet seat. No no, my friends, sometimes people and well-known corporate entities go above and beyond for the sake of the masses' well earned chuckles. In today's roundtable, we will be discussing the following:
What are the most memorable prank-based events you recall from April Fool's days of the past? Was something totally elaborate and ingenius? Or did something miss the mark and fall short?
Please read along as we recount some of our favorite April Fool's Day moments.
I love practical jokes, so not surprisingly I always look forward to what brands try to pull off for April Fool's. Last year there were some great ones, Google Maps Pokemon world and Refinery29's Y2K.0 concert were a couple of my favorites, but my absolute favorite was Uber's 2nd Avenue subway line. Being a habitant of the lower east side, a 2nd Ave. uptown subway line would be life changing (see here for more information on this "mythical railroad").
What Uber did so well with in crafting the "U line" was not just make up a joke, but actually follow through on it—they offered $2.50 (the price of the subway) rides up and down 2nd Ave for the whole day! I didn't need to take an Uber that day, but did just for the fun of it! I am a big fan of all of Uber's fun giveaways and contests and can't wait to see what they come up with this year.
~Emily Roy (Follow Emily on LinkedIn)
Before the Internet, April Fool's Day was only practical jokes, like putting Saran wrap over the toilet. However, thanks to major online brands like Google, Amazon and Netflix, April Fool's Day has really come to life, where companies can show their creativity all in good fun.
Google is the usual favorite. While this year you can play Pac-Man on Google Maps, I was even happier with last year's Pokémon Challenge. I spent an embarrassingly amount of time scouring my app to find Jigglypuff, which I might as well add that I did.
The most memorable, and smart, April Fool's joke to me was Warby Parker's eyewear collection for dogs, Warby Barker. The company, known for its hipster glasses and its charitable work, had an incredibly clever and unexpected prank, but more importantly, it still represented the brand well. As soon as you try to add a product to your cart, you're met with an April Fool's banner where it recommends to donate to the Humane Society instead.
Although, the digital era has raised the bar for April Fool's, the traits of a good prank is still about being witty and unexpected. What's smart when it comes to April Fool's jokes for companies is that it still fits the brand culture while catching people off guard for a good laugh.
~Ashley Frost (Follow Ashley on LinkedIn)
Over the years, many pranks have tried to fool many a gullible internet dweller. I have to admit, I tend to always love the enjoyable humor Google and its many arms share with the masses every year. Ashley mentioned one of my favorites for Google Maps above (Pac-Man), but did you see Google's new solution for your pesky snail mailbox? All those delightfully scented envelopes now can get sorted just like your digital inbox, and you can even keep spam out! I think this video was especially well done, and I really hope someone fell for it. That would thoroughly amuse me.
But what else has Google done less recently? The company has had a lot of fun with its Maps, giving them ASCII, 8-bit, Treasure and Pokémon hunting capabilities, to name a few. Do you remember Google Nose? I like to think the layman wouldn't be fooled by Google's ever-growing list of annual gags, but I'm sure someone somewhere was psyched to be able to sniff and define every smell known to man. I just know I wasn't that guy. But I want to meet that guy. Badly. And become their friend. And perhaps ghostwrite their memoir.
On a similar note, I thought Amazon had a fairly amusing prank this year. Until I found out that it wasn't a prank. Did you hear of the Amazon Dash? It was prominently located on the popular website's home page until the day after April Fool's day. On April 2nd, several websites reported "actually, the Dash isn't a joke after all." I have to admit, I feel a bit bad for Amazon, as the company clearly has great innovative ideas, but doesn't have the best gadget-based track record. To debut this item so close to a prankster's favorite holiday ... well, some executives probably wish the Fire Phone was nothing more than a joke. Awkward. But hey, the Dash isn't a bad idea, right?...
~Aaron Steinfeld (Follow Aaron on LinkedIn)
What have been your favorite pranks? Did any fall short?