Posted: 01 Apr 2016 Contributor: Joel Agnes
The Do’s And Don’ts Of Big Business’ Involvement In April Fools’ Day Marketing
The first time April 1st matters to many people is during the first years of school life. Kids begin spouting the most absurd statements, followed quickly by a loud “April Fools!” “I’m going to give you my lunch….April Fools” “I’m going to fly home today….April Fools” “I like you….April Fools!” (the cruelty)
As the years go on… (let’s say high school and college) jokes mature into a more sly and intuitive approach, like double parking your friend’s car, pretending you’re moving away, or taking your cousin’s furniture and placing on his garage roof.
By the time we reach adulthood and are in functioning careers, people seem to be divided into two different types. Those that LOVE April Fools day and those that HATE April Fools’ Day. Sometimes the people who fall into the 1st category of 4/1 lovers take the “holiday” to the extreme, making big business marketing decisions to celebrate the day. Let’s call one of these companies Google, or we could call it one of the most (if not the absolute most) powerful companies in the world.
On April 1st in Australia, Google added an adorable GIF of a minion performing a mic drop (if you don’t understand GIF, minion, or mic drop – see the image below) as an added bonus to an email “send” option. The problem was that the normal “send” and “mic drop send” buttons were right next to each other, and the result was actually disastrous. Tens of thousands of complaints rolled into Google as interns accidentally sent minion GIFs to their CEOs, funeral homes attached the creatures in “Our Condolences” messages, and sales accounts were lost on account of unprofessional behavior. The only people who benefited? A: The creator of minions and B: potentially some people who were sending resignations emails today and did not want their current employer as a reference. Note to the business world, this is not how to do April Fools’ Marketing.
Another company that participated in April Fools’ Day marketing was clothing retail giant H&M. The company launched a clothing line that supposedly partnered the styles with that of Fashion Expert (aka founder of Facebook) Mark Zuckerberg. The line of clothes consists of 7 of the most basic-basic tee shirts and one pair of jeans (Zuckerberg’s actual famed closet). In this prank, no one was harmed, and worst case scenario if Mark was upset he might just buy the whole of H&M with his daughter’s weekly allowance. This is how to do April Fools’ Day.
And the extra efforts and participation in the fun can actually be quite successful if done right from a business perspective. H&M produced millions of views and over 100K in site links through their April Fools’ mock campaign, which had a magnificent impact in their Google ranking.
Google (though perhaps not the best technique in this case)… might be able to get away with a more mischievous marketing scheme, because after all, they’re Google and they rank themselves. However in this case they were able to admit the flop, and followed up with a prompt removal and sincere apology after some more serious complaints.
What are some of the most outrageous April Fools’ Day marketing techniques you’ve come across? Share the laugh in the comments below!