Advertising Pranksters FOOL Consumers

Bacon flavored mouthwash, lunchmeat DVDs, and glass-bottom airplanes?? This year’s April Fools holiday has caused an eruption of many brands’ foolish pranks going viral on social media. Some brands have even gone as far as creating spoof commercials and print ads along with their playful posts and tweets.

For example, the P&G brand, “Scope” ran an ad on Facebook promoting their new “Bacon Flavored Mouthwash.” As you can see below, the company created a video spoof and several advertisements with catch phrases such as “Taste breakfast while washing it away” to promote this fictitious new product before they came out with the final phrase, “APRIL FOOLS!”

Another brand having fun with this holiday is the movie rental company, Red Box, who is advertising “Sandwiches at Redbox.”

To keep up with their April Fools promotional efforts, Red Box noted that they will be offering 50 cents off their rentals today only by entering the promo code “APRILFOOLS.”

Virgin Atlantic Airways founder Richard Branson fooled customers in his blog featuring a new “glass-bottom airplane.” (Not for those afraid of heights!)

The main reason marketers have chosen to embrace April Fools Day pranks is to make consumers laugh and create a lasting impression. However, these advertising pranksters may have another prerogative: by playing April Fools jokes via social media, these brands have the opportunity to go viral and target the new generation of social media natives.

I think this is a smart tactic for advertisers as it shows that they can poke fun at themselves while promoting a playful culture that consumers can enjoy. Furthermore, as these spoofs go viral, they are gaining more traffic to their company webpages where actual products can be marketed and sold.

Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking Fast and Slow introduces the idea that our minds are associative machines where there are two systems at work. While advertisers may be promoting fictitious products to fool consumers, they are also taking advantage of our associative minds. By being playful and enjoying the holiday, consumers may associate these brands with being lighthearted and fun, further promoting a positive brand image.

All in all, these April Fools pranksters have the right idea: using humor in advertising and focusing on building relationships with consumers should lead to a more positive brand image and (hopefully) increasing sales!

Julia Tompkins

5 thoughts on “Advertising Pranksters FOOL Consumers

  1. This is one of the most efective marketing ploys I have seen in a while. Everyone loves a good joke and it gives the companies a light hearted feel that everyone can relate to. The idea of a corporation playing pranks on their customers via social media on April Fool’s Day is great. I got a real laugh out of the #ScopeBacon ad and even saw it between songs on my Pandora App. I think that bacon mouthwash might have a real shot though, I’d give it a try.

  2. Earlier this week, one of my friends had started telling me about the Bacon Scope and said she hoped it wasn’t a real thing. Now that I know it is not real, I realize that this commercial did in fact get us talking about the product because we did check out the website to see if it was a real product. I believe this goes along with the old adage, “there is no such thing as bad publicity.” It is always important to get consumers talking about the brand. I agree that incorporating April Fool’s Day was a very strategic move. It got consumers talking about the brand, created a lasting impression, and showed the brands are humorous and creative.

  3. I think that this mode of marketing is brilliant! I will admit to be one of the consumers that saw the Scope bacon ad and went to their website to dig deeper. I think that the use of April fool’s day is a great way of getting a brand out in the open. Even though many may know things are a joke, there is still a percentage of people who take these pranks seriously and anticipate what the brand is going to bring next. All of this commotion gets the word of the brand out and cause people to talk about them. The marketing is brilliant and also brings a good bit of fun to an otherwise serious business world.

  4. Very clever marketing. Connecting with the younger generations is a brilliant idea in my opinion. We are the future, and we love humor. I have countless friends that will support a certain company, simply because of their laid back attitudes and humorous advertisements.

  5. I think this type of marketing is brilliant. Not only did it get people talking about the products, but it also made people laugh. People love to laugh and I think a company that can make people laugh is doing a very smart thing to further the selling of their product. I love companies playing pranks on their consumers on April Fools Day. It lightens up the mood of the marketing the other 364 days a year and I think it is good for business.

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