[Webinar] Leveraging Social Media Trends for Brand Engagement

Unlock the secrets to staying ahead in the ever-evolving world of social media marketing.

Save your seat

Published April 3rd 2024

7 Ways to Make Your April Fools’ Day Prank a Success

Here are our best tips for how to make your brand’s April Fools’ Day prank a success.

We looked at some of the best April Fools’ Day jokes from recent years to see what makes a good prank – so you can do the same.

Here’s what makes some of the best April Fools’ Day pranks a success for brand inspiration.

Focus on believability

The best April Fools’ Day campaigns are the ones that blur the lines between joking and reality. So for your next prank, try to craft it in a way that makes it as believable as possible.

For April Fools' Day in 2023, language learning platform Duolingo paired with streaming service Peacock to do just that.

On April Fools’ Day, the two brands launched a unique type of dating show. The concept? None of the contestants speak the same language.

The announcement tweet for the fake show received over 7 million views, boosting mentions of both brands on April Fools’ Day and getting plenty of users to discuss the prank.

So, what made the prank such a success? It was believable and it caught people off guard. Some users didn’t know if the show was real, especially because the campaign launched a few days before April 1.

The high production value helped trick followers into believing it was real.

So if you want to make your next April Fools’ Day prank a success, try to keep the campaign somewhat realistic – but in a way that’s slightly questionable. Plus, launching it earlier than April 1 will probably make people less suspicious of it being an April Fools' prank, adding to the element of surprise.

Believability: ✓

Team up with another brand

Teaming up with another brand to pull an April Fools’ Day prank is an excellent way to have it seen by more people – plus, it adds an element of believability.

Food brand Pringles recently did this with drinks seller OLIPOP. The pair published a collaborative post to their Instagram page announcing a new Sour Cream and Onion soda flavor, complemented by an impressive photoshoot and brand new soda design.

The post was a hit, with followers praising the prank in the comments.

So, why not try collaborating with another brand for your next April Fools’ campaign? Plus, if you share the post as a dual authored post on Instagram, you can benefit from it being seen by twice as many people. This can also help boost your brand awareness.

Collaboration: ✓

Create media coverage with a press release

Try to land some media coverage for your April Fools’ Day campaign by crafting a press release. By sharing this with journalists, you can spark interest and anticipation for your prank among your audience. Be sure to convey the light-hearted nature of the campaign in the press release to maintain transparency and trust.

A great example of this is Tinder’s April Fools’ joke, which landed plenty of press coverage and proved that April 1 can be an excellent opportunity to get your brand in the news. So, how did they do it?

Playing into the ongoing internet joke that there are an abundance of men with pictures of themselves holding fish on dating apps, Tinder released a press release claiming that the app was removing all fish pictures from member profiles. The “fish pics” is a classic internet joke that Tinder cleverly decided to capitalize on for their April Fools’ campaign.

Similar to the Duolingo and Peacock campaign, the press release was sort-of believable – and was even welcomed by many Tinder users.

So, how can you create a news-worthy, sharable prank for your next April Fools’ campaign? Why not start by brushing up on your internet knowledge, and leaning into an existing meme relevant to your brand?

Plus, sharing the prank via a press release is a great way to land news coverage, boosting engagement and brand awareness across the internet.

Media coverage: ✓

Get leadership involved

A tasty ingredient in any April Fools’ Day recipe includes company buy-in. And this works brilliantly if you can get a major figure in your organization to work with you to produce compelling, somewhat-believable content.

Vegan bacon brand La Vie decided to capitalize on this by releasing a video with their CEO. The campaign? They contradicted their biggest core value and started selling meat.

The brand announced it’s venture into the meat market on April Fools’ Day, by pretending to release “animal-based bacon” called “La Mort.”

The brand released a tongue in cheek video with their CEO, Nicolas Schweitzer, front and center, explaining why they were venturing into the meat industry. He said: “Just look at the numbers: 99% of the meat consumed today is of animal origin. For us, launching La Mort is a no-brainer.”

Knowing the campaign would cause a stir, La Vie used April Fools’ Day to reiterate their core values, and bring attention to the vegan food market.

Getting senior staff involved plays into the surprise that comes with a good prank on April 1, so why not see if you can get buy-in from your leadership team?

Involvement of key figures: ✓

Create proper collateral

No matter which prank you run with on April 1, it’s always helpful to put some time and budget into the marketing collateral. Whether you announce the prank on Instagram Stories or even as an advertisement on television – a successful April Fools’ Day prank often focuses on high production value.

In 2024, fitness brand Peloton – known for their cycling equipment – did just that. The company announced that they would now be offering breakdancing classes on Instagram with a high-quality Instagram Reel featuring their instructors. The video was super appealing with many followers commenting – after realizing it was a prank – that they wish it was real.

Why not put as much effort into the announcement as if it was actually true? How would you announce it to your followers? Keep this in mind when crafting your next April Fools’ campaign.

Proper collateral: ✓

Lean into the surprise factor

Looking to create a buzz on social? Why not go completely off-brand? Leaning into the element of surprise can help consumers do a double-take at your April Fools’ Day campaign.

For example, you could “launch” a new – but questionable – product. And that’s exactly what the automobile manufacturer Subaru did.

Subaru released a press release on their website on April Fools’ Day, announcing their pursuit into the world of snacks. An unusual endeavor for a car brand, the company claimed they were to start selling granola, flavored with “blends of wholesome grains, nuts, dried fruits, and the promise of the open road.”

In the release, Moe Muesli, Head of Texture and Granularity at Subaru, said: “At Subaru, we’re committed to being More Than a Car Company, and now, we are literally More Than a Car Company, because we’re making granola.”

The sarcasm in the press release helped to indicate that the stunt was simply April Fools’ Day related, but be careful what you wish for. Plenty of people on social media were actually looking forward to the release.

Surprise factor: ✓

Know your audience

When crafting a successful April Fools’ Day campaign, keep your audience in mind. The more you’re clued into the ins and outs of your demographic, the more you can lean into a joke that will grab their attention.

That’s exactly what food company Heinz did for their latest April Fools’ Day prank. Understanding that there is an age-old problem of how to get the last bit of sauce out of a ketchup bottle, Heinz created a solution to the problem. Enter: the “Ketch-Up and Down” bottle.

The invention would solve the pain point easily: no matter how people choose to store the bottle, the sauce will always be dispensed straight away.

The prank ended up on all corners of the internet, with hundreds of consumers unaware that it was a prank. If anything, many were keen on the idea (despite it being slightly silly).

Heinz’s April Fools’ Day joke leant into the believability aspect too, and combining this with a deep understanding of their audience’s pain points meant that the campaign was a hit.

Know your audience: ✓

Round up

April Fools’ Day is an excellent way to land news coverage and get people chatting about your company online. From hosting an unusual brand collaboration to launching a new product, you can utilize the five tips in this blog to see success with your next prank.

The best April Fools’ Day marketing campaigns are ones that are almost believable, so try and keep that in mind when planning your next prank.

Share this post
Brandwatch Bulletin

Offering up analysis and data on everything from the events of the day to the latest consumer trends. Subscribe to keep your finger on the world’s pulse.

Get the data
facets Created with Sketch.
facets-bottom Created with Sketch.
New: Consumer Research

Harness the power of digital consumer intelligence

Consumer Research gives you access to deep consumer insights from 100 million online sources and over 1.4 trillion posts.

Brandwatch image
Brandwatch image
Brandwatch image
Brandwatch image

Falcon.io is now part of Brandwatch.
You're in the right place!

Existing customer?Log in to access your existing Falcon products and data via the login menu on the top right of the page.New customer?You'll find the former Falcon products under 'Social Media Management' if you go to 'Our Suite' in the navigation.

Paladin is now Influence.
You're in the right place!

Brandwatch acquired Paladin in March 2022. It's now called Influence, which is part of Brandwatch's Social Media Management solution.Want to access your Paladin account?Use the login menu at the top right corner.