With the start of April comes warmer weather, seasonal allergies, and even some friendly competition for the best April Fools’ Day prank. On this day, companies can show off their creativity through fake campaign launches or absurd social media stunts. And this year, brands did not disappoint. Here are our top five marketing pranks for April Fools 2023.
Duolingo and Love Island
Peacock debuted a TV show called Love Language as a partnership between everyone’s favorite green owl and British love show. The show followed 10 singles living in one house, looking to find love. The only problem is none of them speak the same language. Using Duolingo, the singles must take daily lessons to find a match or face elimination. The prank was promoted through a trailer posted on Duolingo’s YouTube channel on March 31st. With its very professional production, many were considering whether the show was legitimate or not.
Oreo posted on Instagram about their collaboration with Funfetti. Their product “Build Your Own Oreo” comes in typical bright blue Oreo packaging. But on the inside, Oreo lovers will find two sleeves of just cookie, with Funfetti frosting on its own in the middle, allowing consumers to build the perfect cookie-to-cream ratio.
Post-It also had a little fun on Instagram with their new “Stick N’ Smell'' sticky notes. The sticky notes come in five different colors: orange, green, blue, pink, and yellow, with citrus, evergreen, ocean, floral, and banana scents, respectively. The comments were full of excited consumers, hoping this prank would manifest into a genuine product.
Selena Gomez’s make-up brand, Rare Beauty, decided to poke fun at one of their most popular products, the “Soft Pinch Liquid Blush.” The liquid blush is known for its longevity, with only one small dot needed for great coverage. In their one-minute video, the brand wanted to address the “customer complaints” of the blush running out too quickly. Their solution? A jumbo-size liquid blush with the very-reasonable price tag of $401! And for reference, the blush applicator is the literal size of a doe’s foot.
True Car announced their new AI-powered app “CarGPT” to find a person’s “trustiest true car.” The app peers into the soul to see what car is right for the buyer. Simply uploading a selfie will allow the app to analyze a person’s cerebellum, along with factors like “biometrics, psychological profile, and even your astrological chart,” so CarGPT can recommend a car that matches a buyer’s personality.
Over the years, companies have become even more elaborate with their pranks. From posting days ahead to creating very realistic product launches, these companies have generated good buzz in the media. Moreover, companies seem to be using April Fool’s Day strategically. By launching product ideas as “pranks,” companies can gauge consumers' reactions to see if these products would sell. For some, like Oreo and Post-It, consumers have given an outpour of support on social media for these pranks to become a reality, giving brands the confidence that their products will have consumer demand.