Les Melnichenko
Mar 25, 2021 | 7 min read

We all need a reason to smile right now. Even though it’s neither Christmas nor Halloween, it’s still the time to have fun. April Fool’s Day is coming! So, you’d better start thinking out practical jokes already. 

The upcoming Laughter day offers businesses the prime opportunity to generate their online awareness with hoaxes and original mischief. 

Want to be in the loop this year and pull it off? Various examples of April Fool’s day sale campaigns from globally-known brands are on the table today. Get ready to be inspired and laugh your head off!

April fool's day grumpy cat meme

10 witty April Fool’s marketing ideas

Love it or hate, the 500-year tradition of pulling someone’s leg will carry on. In a business niche as well. But you should REALLY walk on eggshells here. Any joke will fall flat if it doesn’t hit a chord with your audience. That’s why I provide you with these comic April Fool’s day marketing ideas many brands have brought. Enjoy! 🤡

1. Play the fool wisely

April Fool's Day marketing campaign by HelpCrunch

Not every business risks its reputation and mocks itself. If a good sense of humor, self-deprecation, and an excellent imagination are synonymous to you, take the following April Fool’s marketing endeavor into account.

We at HelpCrunch know how to cheer you up this April 1st and show ourselves in a more fun light. Our team crafted this rib-tickler, cool, and absolutely one-of-a-kind alternative April Fool’s day homepage. Yes, we can laugh at ourselves in a professional and quick-witted manner 🤣

Let me walk you through our main name of the game. 

Every business strives to be serious-minded and rather formal. Marketing tries to highlight the product or service is unique and just…perfect. But here’s a twist: an ideal product does not exist. 

That’s why we made up our mind to tell you about our downsides upfront and honest, exaggerate them, and laugh. We may not be ideal, though we’re sincere and funny. Hopefully, customers will appreciate our sense of humor.

We’ve spent 5 years building this platform…It’s still not even close to what we’ve imagined” – this is where the pun is totally intended. The team modified the content throughout the page in keeping with the best April Fools’ day marketing traditions. For instance, the CTA “Start 14-day free trial” is now changed to “Sign up and live dangerously” and the hero section has our team’s witty quotes. 

If you like the idea and want to implement it with your brand, make sure you know exactly where the sweet spot is. Do as we do. For those who don’t feel like giggling and prefer rather serious air, there is the “😂 MAKE ME LAUGH” switch on our off-the-wall home page. 

Spread the word and celebrate Laughter day with HelpCrunch!

2. Announce a fake product 

April Fool’s marketing ideas are impossible to imagine without the one from McDonald’s. These guys are real tricksters when it comes to this holiday. 

McDonald’s clearly understands its audience. The fast-food chain presented special “Sauce pots” several years ago. These were mini milkshakes for those who like dipping their fries in something sweet. Which flavor would you go for: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, or banana? I, for one, am a vanilla type 🍟 

As it turned out, the brand was just messing with us.

Say what you will, this is an unconventional approach, indeed. Replacing such traditional condiments as ketchup, BBQ sauce, mayonnaise, and mustard is what I call a killer April Fool’s day sale example. Besides, this is a great pattern of how loyalty and retention strategy may look like during a holiday season.

3. Use customer behavior humorously 

Most of you are music addicts, that’s for sure. Come to think of it, my Spotify playlist is a patchwork of such genres as pop, techno, indie-pop, Latino sounds, and whatnot. By the way, this audio service provider nailed humor marketing in 2018. 

As part of their end-of-year campaign, Spotify created ads that poked fun at its users’ playlists based on listeners’ data. For instance, there was “I love gingers” with almost 50 Ed Sheeran’s songs and a compilation of songs included “Sorry” on Valentine’s day. 

I guess Spotify wanted to highlight that brands can handle their customers’ data in a more joyous manner. And it doesn’t have to look like an intrusion. This can actually be a wise April Fool’s day sale move.

Spotify 2018Wrapped
Spotify Wrapped2018

4. Create actual game activities 

Google’s reputation as a kidder is known far and wide. I personally laughed at Google Nose, a made-up addition to Search. However, the corporation also celebrates April Fools without pranking too much. 

In 2019, they launched the 90s-tribute Snake game powered by Google Maps. Except that the snake is a train. The game lets people travel across the world 🌍 There are cities like Cairo, San Francisco, London, and others. 

Do you remember Where’s Wally? British series of puzzle books? Well, Google took the cake with it as well. Their April Fool’s day marketing extravaganza featured Where’s Waldo? (used in North America) game in 2018. 

All it takes is asking the Google Assistant “Where’s Waldo?” and it will not only suggest looking for him in Google Maps but also remind you to update your app. 

5. Push the boundaries 

Who says that February, or Valentine’s day to be exact, is the only month designed for love? Build-A-Bear, American retailer that sells stuffed teddy bears and other toys, thought outside the box and announced its own Build-A-Bea dating app on the trickster day (spoiler: no, it’s not real).

The point of this initiative is out in the open: to add more love to life, connect real people to each other, and encourage them to share and express their love. The proprietary matchmaking algrrrrithm (you get it, right? 😅) analyzes your True Heart profile, you tell your soulmate’s expectations, and after that, you’re all set to meet a special someone during Heart Ceremony.

This is my personal TOP in the best April Fool’s marketing list. The cleverest thing about such an initiative is that you can receive the company’s Bonus Club perks, earn points, and get exclusive early access to the hottest products staying updated to the app.

Build-A-Bear has practically jumped on the hype train. Online matchmaking applications are on the rise nowadays. Let alone it’s a golden opportunity for upselling and cross-selling mixing business with pleasure. If it’s not the customer-first approach, then what IS that? Hats off 🎩

6. Make an engagement buzz

April Fool’s marketing might be a good ground for a funny digital customer engagement strategy

Judge by yourself, dozens of social media shares and highly engaged clients kicking around your product or service. Definitely a pro point!

Nintendo of America created a Twitter poll asking users what character they would like to prank. 

The point is that the poll is fake with only one possible option. Once you’re on the corresponding page, it says “Joke’s on you! April Fool’s Day is the trickiest day of the year. Silly pranks can be a lot of fun!“. 

It should seem like a small thing, though it appeared to be the most engaging post for the company in 2018. 

7. Add new comic product features

April 1st is the chance to show off not only your sense of humor but also an advanced feature set your product or service may offer. Like Honda Canada did. 

The car corporation introduced their April Fool’s promotion idea called “Polite Horn” 2019. It’s not only hilarious but also really useful! 

Imagine: the sun is shining, you’re driving your brand new Honda, and bam! Some wreck stops at a green light. Here is when you can be a bit passive-aggressive and express what’s on your mind politely. Nerves are in order, the mood isn’t changed. I wish this feature was true. Ahem ahem!

8. Introduce a one day only offer

I bet you binge-watch your favorite TV show when you have idle time. The same here! ✋ But I have a confession to make. It’s sometimes a bit hard to catch certain words due to the intricacies of pronunciation. 

BritBox, a service that streams British shows for international audiences, once launched a really helpful April Fool’s marketing initiative – Interp-Brit – for those like me that was available only one day. And it was a big win!  

The concept made accent comprehension a lot easier to understand. It dubbed American voices on top of famous British TV programs. I mean, how cool is that?!

One might wonder, this was supposed to be just an April 1st leg-pull. But these guys have killed two birds with one stone: they put a new face on the already familiar product unleashing its full potential and made customers happy seizing much bigger audiences. And you know what? BritBox heard what people said out there and turned this ground-breaking joke into a permanent feature! 

P.S. I personally couldn’t imagine Colin Firth talking with a Brooklyn accent in Pride and Prejudice 😅

9. Consider brand reinforcement 

If you have no April Fool’s day sales coming and nothing to say to your clients, make sure your business stays fresh in their memories. For that, use brand reinforcement magic. And broadcast emailing if need be.

Sony crafted a “Mark Your Calendar” newsletter to give their subscribers information about all the important events for the month. They also included some of their products in the piece shrewdly. 

As for me, this isn’t the worst-case scenario for national prankster day. Quite the opposite: you give a friendly reminder about your brand and offer relative products casually. 

Sony "Mark your calendar" newsletter

10. Be weird

“Does your favorite goldfish display signs of aggression when you leave for work?” says the Amazon ludicrous landing page dedicated to the April Fool’s day sale. Audible for Fish – this is the name of this funny audiobook collection. 

You see, anytime you’re leaving, your pet may feel lonely. This queer product can help you ease their condition. Just have your George the Fish listen to a 3-second melody. The sought-after soothing effect is around the corner. 

Well, the whole nonsense of the situation makes me laugh just like customer service memes do 😅 Amazon is definitely a pro in promoting bizarre gags. Maybe, you need to think of something just like that for your business? 

Audible for fish Amazon

Shall we laugh? 

Laughter is the best medicine. Don’t miss out on a great opportunity to let go of the sadness and let yourself smile. Hopefully, our April Fool’s day sales japes made you at least giggle today! 

A word to the wise: when planning your activities during the week of merriment, study your audience carefully so that everything goes without a hitch. In the worst-case scenario, the joke’s on you. Happy April Fools everyone!

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2 comments

  1. Interesting article! It’s a day that I always look forward to. It’s fun to see the unique and creative April Fools’ Day campaigns that hit the internet. And even though they are often spoofs. Thanks for sharing, Cheers!

    1. So glad that you like the article! All the insightful and fun content is yet to come. Stay tuned! And thanks a lot!

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