The internet was a dangerous place last Monday, April 1. From your childhood Mr. Potato Head reinventing himself as a cooler, more hipster piece of produce, April Fools’ Day caused skepticism throughout the internet causing many of us to fall victim to these annual PR stunts.
Every year brands attempt to pull one over on the world, “announcing” new products and services that seem too good to be true. These creative stunts are fun for the consumer, masking the brand’s true incentive which is, of course, to sell you things.
Continue reading to discover the top four PR benefits brands receive by participating in April Fools’ Day.
When working to improve brand awareness, it’s important for brands to appear relatable, especially when marketing themselves on social media. A key factor in relatability is having a strong awareness of what will grab your audience’s attention. April Fools’ Day is a great opportunity for brands to promote a more “human” side of them by proving to customers that they’re funny and on-trend. In doing so, brands earn our trust and therefore make us more likely to purchase from them in the future.
Research and Development
How many of you prefer to dip your french fries in a milkshake rather than ketchup? Well, your dreams are now reality with McDonald’s new milkshake-flavored dipping sauces! Oh wait. It’s April Fools’ Day…
Often times brands will pretend to launch new products on April 1st to test the waters and get a pulse on what customers want. They can then use this insight to be better prepared for real launches later on. Was the reaction well-received? An epic fail? Shake Sauce advocates were devastated to discover that they were duped by the pretend product launch, turning to Twitter to pressure McDonald’s to turn their stunt into a reality.
While some brands use April Fools’ Day for product testing, others won’t hesitate to use the day to creatively launch new products. This year, Burger King announced its partnership with Impossible Foods to create the Meatless Whopper. Skepticism ensued causing countless tweets and Google searches from consumers demanding the truth. The lack of confidence from customers that have been fooled before worked in Burger King’s favor, bringing publicity and awareness to their newly launched product.
Social media marketing is one of the most cost-efficient digital marketing methods, allowing brands to accomplish all of the previously mentioned tactics while spending very little. If memorable, a brand’s one-day April Fools’ prank campaign can reap rewards for years to come. In 2008, YouTube linked every video to Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up,” successfully Rickrolling all of its users. This campaign created a viral pranking trend that swept the internet. Today, the video has half a billion views as many users have kept the trend going over the past 11 years.
Now that you’re aware of the branding efforts behind these mischievous marketing campaigns, you won’t be next year’s April Fool.
(We’re still holding out for McDonald’s Shake Sauce though).