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The best April Fool’s Day PR stunts of all time

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April Fool’s Day by Brands

April Fool’s is a great way for brands to showcase a funnier, personable image while also trying to outdo each other in who can come up with the most outrageous idea and become a viral sensation for the day.

Stunts get people engaged on social media with comments, likes and retweets in their masses, and there’s no doubt that these pranks could achieve more coverage than your average press release would.

Here are a few examples that have caught our eye over the years:

Tesco

Pictured below is a tweet from Tesco introducing their bouncy aisles for those tricky, hard-to-reach products. Wouldn’t this make the mundane task of the weekly shop much more enjoyable?

Costa Coffee

Costa Coffee pulled a great April Fool’s stunt by introducing a ground breaking service that let customers nod off and have a power nap when they hit an afternoon slump. You can view it below. Let’s face it, all those coffee lovers out there, you’d love this wouldn’t you?

Coca-Cola, the London Eye and British Space Research Programme

The London Eye also jumped on the band wagon with their zero gravity experience, which allowed people to view the sights of London while floating in the air! How many of us would have been scrolling through our news feeds and stopped to see if this was actually real?


One of the most famous April Fool’s videos was the spaghetti tree hoax, a three-minute report broadcast on April Fools’ Day 1957 by the BBC current affairs programme Panorama. The report told the tale of a family from Switzerland who were harvesting spaghetti from…a tree. Most people would have had a giggle at this knowing that it was a prank, however, hundreds of viewers phoned into the BBC to see if the story was true or not. Some even asked how they could grow their own spaghetti trees. Decades later, CNN called this broadcast ‘the biggest hoax that any reputable news establishment ever pulled.’ Bravo.


Of course, not all stunts go to plan and some of the biggest names out there seem to have made a faux pas or two on the April 1st. Taco Bell managed to upset thousands of Americans when in 1996 it announced that it had purchased the Liberty Bell and was to rename it “Taco Liberty Bell”. Despite the fast food chain announcing that it was an April Fool’s stunt just a few hours later, the damage had been done and even more were angry that the national monument had been used as part of a prank. So, while April Fool’s Day could be a great opportunity for a business to illustrate its personality, it’s worth considering all possible ways in which the ‘joke’ could be taken before publishing.

However big or small, April Fool’s stunts get you thinking (and most probably laughing) and, as such, it’s a date that marketers should have firmly in their minds. If you aren’t thinking of April Fool’s as a fun way to engage with customers and clients, then you could be missing out on the perfect opportunity to highlight brand personality, an area that’s becoming vitally important in modern marketing. What 2016 will bring? In the world of marketing the possibilities are endless, and we’re intrigued to find out.

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