It's less than a month until April 1st, that hilarious day of the year when people try to prank each other. Marketing companies will, even now, be hatching their plans to come up with amusing ideas to foist on the gullible and those who just didn't think to register the date out of the sheer exhaustion of surviving another day. When you feel that way there really is nothing more enjoyable than being pranked by some smug marketer.
In the past Google has always been a big fan of pranks, as this page on Wikipedia shows. Last year they really pushed the boat out saying they were going to shut YouTube, introduce a new database of smells and run a treasure hunt on Google Maps among other things. Oh, those Google boys.
Sony, for their part, introduced a TV that displays images in dog-friendly colours and a remote with buttons that were suitable for paws.
Twitter was also involved in the game, removing all vowels from the site (which was renamed “Twttr” for the morning) and stating that anyone wishing to use vowels would be charged $5 a month.
The most intriguing play (although probably not for the reasons they were intending) came from Procter and Gamble Co’s advertisement for a new bacon flavour mouthwash, complete with the taglines “for breath that sizzles” and “indulge your meat tooth”. Many were keen and upset to find out that it was all a joke.
The most over-the-top attempt, meanwhile, came from the Times Daily of Florence, Alabama. The paper printed an image of a local bridge being attacked by Godzilla, a UFO and the Loch Ness Monster. Subtlety was not in the plan.
So, were coming up to another fun filled April 1st and it's on a Tuesday this year, which means that it's during the working week. In good years they fall over the weekend so you have a chance to avoid the lame attempts of large corporates and office Colin Hunts to have fun at your expense.
Do you have an plans this year? Take care if you do, and bear in mind that ill conceived pranks are probably one of the fastest ways of destroying brand loyalty that there are out there. Perhaps the best idea is to send out an April Fools' survival kit on March 31st. Your customers will thank you for that.