April Fools Day Marketing

When scheduling marketing plans, April 1st poses unique public relations opportunities and challenges.  Traditional marketers understandably hesitate to set aside much of their budget for marketing on April Fool’s Day.   In 2009, the hesitation to execute tactics on April Fool’s Day posed additional complications with the Conficker worm, which was primed to wreak havoc on the web.  Fortunately the Conficker worm scare came and went like Y2k and there were no major issues.

For Some April Fool’s Day Marketing is Foolish
B-to-B marketing isn’t very well suited for April Fool’s stunts because many companies would rather you spend time and money helping improve their business than joking around.  Also, people can be guarded on April Fool’s Day and therefore avoid being taken through the funnel your campaign is set to shape and this is a potential reality marketers would like to avoid.

For Others April Fool’s Day Marketing is Fantastic
Taco Liberty BellFor the brave, PR stunts on April Fool’s Day are a great opportunity to garner attention.  This year, Gmail offered an email autopilot that responds to emails for you, YouTube turned videos upside down, Reddit copied Digg’s homepage, and Twitter’s plan to make money was unveiled.

One of my favorite April Fool’s jokes occurred in 1996, when Taco Bell supposedly purchased Liberty Bell and was going to rename it “Taco Liberty Bell.”  This one was particularly believable because it sounded so plausible with so many other brands at the time putting their names on any and everything.

April Fool’s Day in Your Marketing Calendar
Plan for April Fool’s Day if it fits with your business. Send out a news release of something that is plausible, intriguing, and surprising enough to elicit an emotional response that makes people want to know more.  The best part about releasing fictional news is that you can be as creative as you want.  Beyond conducting the necessary legal due diligence, let your imagination run wild and get your brand noticed on April 1st.

Have you had success with April Fool’s Day marketing?  If so, share your story with a comment or contact me directly.

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