For years, major corporations have used April Fool’s Day as an opportunity to launch large-scale pranks on unsuspecting consumers. While it’s all fun and games, many are unaware that these “jokes” are merely viral marketing campaigns packaged an April Fool’s shenanigan.
It’s a brilliant concept. Whether it’s Google changing its website name to “Topeka” or Starbucks adding a 128 oz cup of coffee its menu, these “pranks” result in loads of consumer interest and free publicity. Consider the following “gotchas” pulled by a few very well-know corporations:
· Taco Bell sparked an uproar when the company announced it had purchased the Liberty Bell and renamed it the “Taco Liberty Bell.” When asked about the sale at a White House press briefing, then-secretary Mike McCurry reportedly announced that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold and renamed the “Ford Lincoln Memorial.”
· Burger King announced the new left-handed Whopper. The company took out a full page ad in “USA Today” highlighting the first ever burger designed for 32-million left-handed Americans. The company issued a release detailing the hoax after thousands of customers either ordered a left-handed burger or made it a point to mention they wanted to stick with the classic, right-handed version.
· Kodak has launched Aromatography, “a breakthrough in digital imaging processing” that uses Neuro-optic nasal sense imaging technology, known as NonSense, to bring pictures to life with scratch-and-sniff aromas.
These gags are great examples of how companies have managed to turn tomfoolery into an opportunity to expand their brand presence. Click here to check out a list April Fool’s Day 2010 pranks by some of our favourite brands.