April Fools Day and Brand Hoaxes


As kids, April Fools Day was always a highlight, as we set about trying to best our peers, siblings or parents into believing something that was oh-so-funny or unbelievable. Then, as with most things, the older we got, the less we engaged with it. Brands, however, use it as an opportunity to spread crazy messages and ideas, either entertaining or enraging their audiences. And this year, there were a few that got us talking.

My favourite of the lot is from Sam Adams, releasing HeliYum. A brand that knows who it is, who its audience is and isn’t afraid to have some fun.



Honda’s DIY Car is wonderfully produced, entertaining and the level of detail is commendable (the cat in the background, for some reason, really made me laugh).


Bonobos takes wearable technology to a whole new level, introducing a psychopathic AI shirt.


Google had a few entries on the day, but easily the best was their desire to change the Internet into Emoji.


Tumblr released an emotionally laden video to introduce Tumblr Pro, a service that puts top hats on everything.



BMW created the ultimate sleeping machine.


And to flip the idea on its head, JetBlue gave away free fares to those born on the first.

There are many, many more examples out there of brands having fun with April Fools. With the multitude of platforms and the decreasing production costs available to brands, they are allowed the opportunity to create more content based on social events. At the end of the day, are they successful? What makes a good piece of reactive content for audiences? It’s worth considering what they actually achieve for the brand — something that can express brand values and voice, in an entertaining way; a way to soften a brand in the eyes of their audience; a way to win more customers by doing something different or unexpected. Or is it just content for the sake of content?

Do you think it’s worth the effort? What are other examples of brands hoaxes that you have enjoyed (or hated)?

Pete Saunders
Director of Brand Projects.

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