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From chocolate burgers to sandwich-sharing apps: The April Fool’s day pranks that got people talking this year

Caleb Triscari /

Source: Lush Australia Facebook Page

It’s become a bit of a cliche for businesses to post the annual April Fool’s joke on their social media accounts, but brands continue to make customers chuckle by publishing a light-hearted prank on April 1.

While running these types of pranks may no longer truly surprise customers, director of Inside Out PR Nicole Reaney says it “doesn’t diminish from the brand appeal they generate”.

“Humour is a great way to generate attention and brand affinity – and goes hand in hand with lighthearted Aussie culture,” Reaney tells SmartCompany.

From feigning bankruptcy to innovation in the sandwich industry, here are some of the ways brands made audiences laugh this April Fool’s Day.

Tesla

Eccentric businessman Elon Musk broke the unfortunate news to his Twitter following of 20 million that Tesla had gone bankrupt “despite intense efforts to raise money, including a last-ditch mass sale of Easter eggs”.

One Twitter user pointed out this kind of joke may not be in the best interests of shareholders — and others agreed. Bloomberg reported despite a 22% drop in Tesla shares in March, the worst month in seven years, Musk still went ahead with the joke.

Lush

Refreshing New Range

We've just launched a refreshing new range which will be trickling into stores today. It will be love at frost sight, so water you waiting for? Head in to your closest shop now!

Posted by LUSH Australia on Friday, 30 March 2018

Cosmetics brand Lush unveiled a new line of refreshing skin care products on April 1 — Eau de Aqua and Sunshower. The brand drew upon the magical qualities of shower water to sell its products. Unfortunately, the products were recalled several hours later.

“Our new refreshing range has not soaped up to our expectations so sadly we’re washing these ones goodbye,” Lush Australia said on its Facebook page, suggesting the new line may have been a joke.

Speaking to SmartCompany, digital manager for Lush ANZ Brittany Crawford said Lush noticed an increase in engagement with this year’s prank compared with previous years: including the number of shoppers who fell for it this time round.

“In the past we’ve seen our audience tagging friends to laugh at the post, whereas for this particular joke, customers were playing into it – joking around that they contain dihydrogen monoxide so they can’t be safe and that they’re hands went numb as a result of use of the product,” Crawford says.

Crawford says the joke went through different departments for consultation before being launched. The rationale behind this year’s joke was to be “on-trend”, with Crawford saying the prank was appealing to the “increased demand for minimalist, all vegan and all cruelty free cosmetics”.

“The joke has to have a value-add approach, as well as a sense of complete ridiculousness, so that there is little disappointment when it is realised that it is in fact an April Fool’s joke,” Crawford says.

This ties in with Reaney’s belief that jokes have to offer something if they’re going to work, not just throw something out on social media for the sake of it.

“To cut through, companies do need a clever idea and execution – to deliver an authentic surprise,” she says.

GoGet

Car sharing company GoGet decided to take the opportunity to expand its offerings and launch its new sandwich-sharing service this April.

Similar to the car sharing model, users could tap their card on one of the readily-available lunchboxes, take a bite of the sandwich, and leave it for the next user.

“Try not to slobber or use your filling, because you will get a fine if you leave a messy sandwich,” said one of the GoGet staff in the promotional video.

Hungry Jacks

In a possible attempt to also capitalise on the Easter holiday, fast food brand Hungry Jacks revealed its chocolate whopper product. The twist on the iconic burger featured a chocolate patty, a chocolate cake bun, raspberry syrup, white chocolate rings and candied blood oranges.

In classic Hungry Jacks style, the new ‘chocolate whopper’ was given a close-up on a grill with flames in the background.

Chocolate Whopper

CHOCOLATE WHOPPER. LOL. HAPPY APRIL FOOLS DAY.

Posted by Hungry Jack's on Friday, 30 March 2018

Pringles

Jumping on the cryptocurrency bandwagon, Pringles revealed its plans to launch an initial coin offering for PringCoin, “a chip-centric currency and trading platform that helps chip eaters across the country monetise on their flavour creations”.

In a statement Pringles said “utilising blockchain technology, the Pringcoin platform is an encrypted, digital ledger for flavour creators to register and license their unique creations within the platform”.

“Millions of unique flavours can be monetised as popular creations get sold or traded online – all via the unique Pringcoin chiptocurrency being released today.”

ICO: Pringcoin

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Posted by Pringles on Wednesday, 28 March 2018

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Caleb Triscari

Caleb Triscari is a former SmartCompany subeditor.

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