April Fools’ Day is notoriously rife with gags, pranks, and jokes. As advertisers, this presents an opportunity for brands to showcase themselves in a way that is both relatable and hilarious. Just like the Super Bowl, some brands are regulars when it comes to running whimsical ads on April Fools’ Day. This blog outlines some brands that consistently take this non-serious holiday very seriously, and we’ve provided some insights into why these strategies work.
Does Google really need to advertise? As of February 2022, an astounding 92% of online searches take place on Google, and with that level of domination, Google (alphabet) doesn’t necessarily need a massive ad campaign to differentiate themselves from the competition. They can, however, spend their advertising dollars on fun & quirky ideas that generate even more brand awareness and engagement. From “Google Nose” to “Treasure Map Mode,” Google has used April Fools’ Day as a platform to make some of their most memorable ads.
Similar to Google, YouTube is by far the biggest player in their field (also owned by Google, go figure). In fact, a recent study found that 90% of internet users accessed YouTube to watch a video online, and the closest competitor was Facebook (Meta) at 60%. Instead of highlighting their new features constantly, YouTube regularly uses their ad budget to make people laugh, which is exemplified in their April Fools’ Day campaigns.
As the King of Burgers and comedic advertisements, Burger King is another April Fools’ Day regular. Fast food chains are some of the most common advertisers of any industry, but normally these ads are focused on new deals or products. BK’s April Fools’ Day ads play on this trend by launching fake products, such as Whopper toothpaste or the chocolate Whopper (which weirdly looks tasty).
Testimonials have been a popular advertising strategy since the dawn of, well, ads. SodaStream makes a splash in the April Fools’ Day ad scene by promoting fake testimonials from celebrities like Thor “The Mountain” Bjornsson and Scott Kelly.
It’s impossible to talk about ad strategies without mentioning at least one animal-centric ad. Since the days of Nipper the RCA Dog to modern CGI geckos and ducks, animals have been front & center for many ad campaigns. This isn’t just because they’re cute or funny; studies show animals in advertisements increase feelings of emotional connection, ultimately amplifying ad effectiveness. Nevertheless, animals ARE funny, so it only makes sense brands like Petco use April Fools’ Day as an opportunity to make you laugh.