For the first time in its history, April Fools’ Day in 2020 was a sombre affair. People were most certainly not in the mood. Good news for pranksters, brands are back to have the last laugh this year, from edible slippers to hedgehog influencers, cheesy skincare to pricey bottled sea air.
As people came to terms with the pandemic in 2020, April Fools’ Day couldn’t have fallen at the worst moment. Due to the gravity of the situation that was taking hold, most brands felt it would be more sensitive to skip the pranks altogether.
However, although we’re still working under Covid-19 in 2021, brands are welcoming this year’s April Fools’ Day as a welcome opportunity to spread a bit of laughter.
Scroll down to see the rest of this year’s tongue-in-cheek stunts, campaigns and product launches from around the world.
Yeo Valley Organic: Moo-R Code
Yeo Valley Organic has created scannable QR codes that have been shaved into the hides of all 400 of their own British Friesian cows, to celebrate the national rollout of its connected packaging.
It briefed connected experience agency SharpEnd to carefully shave all their herd with scannable technology. Each ‘Moo-R Code’ is unique to the cow and links the scanner to a profile page – almost like each of them having a Facebook profile.
BMW: The Ultimate Self-Driving Machine
BMW has designed ‘the ultimate self-driving machine’ – the new BMW M4. While this sounds totally futuristic, think about it for a second.
To announce the ‘new’ car, BMW of North America by Goodby Silverstein & Partners shot a short film starring Milo Ventimiglia. He tricks viewers into believing that the car is fully autonomous before revealing that the ‘self-driving’ reference refers to the all-new BMW M4’s manual transmission and Ventimiglia has been in complete control of the vehicle during the entire drive.
Innocent x Heinz: Smoup
What do you get when you mix soup with smoothie? Smoup. Pioneering new flavours, Heinz and Innocent have teamed up on a whole new product.
So, you’ve ever wished that you could enjoy a hearty soup and a refreshing smoothie at the same time, then they have a product for you. Mmm.
Burger King: Chocolate Whopper
There’s a lot of things that go with chocolate… and a lot of things that don’t.
Exclusive for users of the Burger King app, fans will be treated to a ‘Chocolate Whopper’ – a flame-grilled beef patty topped with fresh juicy tomatoes and onion, dressed with a layer of rich… chocolate.
And, if that doesn’t quench your thirst for chocolate, it has brought out a six-piece ‘Nugget Dipper’ that comes with an indulgent tub of chocolate fudge swirl.
Mike’s Hard Seltzer: Naturally Good
Mike’s Hard Seltzer has taken its drink to the next level, launching a ‘Naturally Good’ range that features three new flavours. Each has been developed with the discerning health-conscious customer in mind, with complex but natural formulations that feature crowd-pleasing ingredients like charcoal, flaxseed, ginseng, and the always popular kale.
Birds Eye: Waffles Only Toaster
For too long, waffle lovers have been unaware they can cook their favourite meal in the toaster. And so, Birds Eye has teamed up with Morphy Richards to create the ‘Waffles Only Toaster’.
Designed to be the exact measurement of Birds eye’s waffles, it includes a heat-activated potato waffle print that slowly turns golden until the crisp yet fluffy waffles pop out.
Duolingo: Duolingo Roll
On average, people spend 14 minutes a day on the loo. And so Duolingo is killing two birds with one stone, as an answer to those who say they don’t have enough time to learn.
Getting users to practice on the loo, the language learning app has created the ‘Duolingo Roll’. It features real sentences from its courses, like ‘tengo esta cebolla y la voy a usar’ – I have this onion and I’m going to use it.
Subway: Helping Hand
Subway prides itself on the length of its sandwiches. To help customers handle its footlong sub, Subway has designed a helping hand so you can scroll your phone while you eat.
Attached via an ergonomic wrist-strap, a Subway spokesperson said of the ‘third hand’ solution: “Our smart-tech is going revolutionise lunchtime. It’s a gamechanger for customers who don’t want to lose out on their midday break. For anyone that finds the idea a bit weird.”
Every year, the best-laid schemes of April Fools often don’t go to plan. Yesterday (31 March) Volkswagen was forced to deny reports that it intended to change its name to ‘Voltswagen’ after an April Fool’s gag proved to be a little too believable.
The seasonal prank saw a draft press release leaked to the US media, informing them that it was changing its name to ’Voltswagen of America’. The suspicious timing of the announcement naturally led recipients to question the authenticity of the release but Volkswagen itself compounded the confusion by issuing an unequivocal statement that the rebrand was genuine and a ’public declaration of the company’s future-forward investment in e-mobility’.
Maoam: Stripes Chew-Infinity
Something out a Roald Dahl children’s book, Maoam is claiming to have created an ‘everlasting’ sweet. After a year in the making, Maoam has claimed it has managed to find a way to keep the chew going, whilst locking in the flavour.
To announce the groundbreaking ‘Stripes Chew-Infinity’, Maoam is working with a number of influencers on the launch, who will be testing it out over the next few days.
Wheyhey: 2020 viral trend flavoured ice cream
With the belief that it’s time to celebrate and pay homage to the food trends that kept people going in 2020, sugar-free ice cream brand Wheyhey is testing a trio of new ice cream flavours to reflect last year’s most popular recipes.
Jumping on the viral foodie trends, feast your eyes on ‘banana bread’, ‘sourdough’ and ‘dalgona coffee’ ice cream.
TGI Fridays: Tight Rope Artist
TGI Fridays’ chief exec Ray Blanchette has decided to run away to join the circus. Effective immediately, Blanchette will be stepping down from the head role, transitioning to become a high-wire artist. TGI Fridays is yet to name a successor.
“The art of tightrope walking has been a fueling passion of mine for years. I always wanted to run away to join the circus as a young child, but the norm was joining the corporate world, and I left those dreams behind,” said former chief exec Ray Blanchette. “I’m extremely proud of the work my team has accomplished during my time at TGI Fridays, but now it’s time for me to move onto new heights.” April Fools!
GE Appliances: #AprilAirFry?
The chief commercial officer of GE Appliances, Rick Hasselbeck, has taken to the streets to hand-deliver gift boxes of hot air to registered customers across the US.
While this might be a strange thing to deliver, Hasselbeck is supposedly “full of hot air” – well-known in his business for long-winded speeches and sleepy Zoom meetings.
Velveeta: Luxury skincare product
Are you a fan of cheese? Well, today is your lucky day, as Heinz-owned Velveeta has debuted ’V by Velveeta’ a new line of lucky skincare products, inspired by the creaminess of its cheese products.
Designed to “help you discover your skin’s natural, creamy complexion” the collection includes three “indulgent” products: a daily moisturizer touted as “rich and creamy,” a night cream to “revitalize your skin’s natural, creamy complexion,” and a renewal serum that unlocks “radiant golden glows.” Rest assured, this is an April Fools’ gag.
Sour Patch: Sour Patch Prank Fund
Leveraging its following in TikTok, this year Sour Patch is calling on its fans to channel their inner child and get mischievous.
The brief is, send a fun (but safe) prank video as part of a hashtag challenge on TikTok. The brand will then randomly award $1,000 to 25 lucky participants and free candy to 100 other fans for their pranks.
Well&Truly: Office Supplies
Fancy a pack of Ergonomic Mouse Pad or 64GB Memory Stick? Helping employees to prank their bosses, Snack brand Well&Truly has renamed its products after office supplies, so they can purchase the snacks and sneakily expense their ’supplies’ on the company.
Arran Sense of Scotland: Fresh Sea Air
If there’s one thing we’ve missed this year, it’s breathing in the fresh air. Day after day stuck indoors, shielding from the coronavirus has placed more emphasis on the virtues of a walk in the country or a trip to the seaside. In a normal year, the isle of Arran received around 750,000 overnight visitors. But with fewer people arriving on its shores, this year, the isle has plenty of sea air to share.
And so, Arran Sense of Scotland is settling a literal breath of fresh air, for 10 quid a pop. Each bottle contains 399ml of pure island air, bottled directly from the Arran. Although this is most definitely an April Fools, one man has actually made a business for himself, selling air collected in the British countryside to Chinese buyers, setting them back $115.
iPrice Group: iPetite
It’s no secret that the pet care industry is absolutely booming. By the end of this year, it is expected to exceed US$1.4bn.
Keen to tap this burgeoning market, iPrice Group has ’set up’ an app called iPetite, that helps pets communicate the products they want with their owners.
Bearaby: Hedgehog Influencers
You don’t have to be human to be an influencer. This year, Bearaby is tapping into the hedgehog influencers craze to market its new blanket – ’The Hogger’ – to the prickly fellows’ dedicated Instagram followings. The Hogger is billed as a tiny weighted blanket for anxious hedgehogs.
Bobo’s: Edible Slippers
Ever looked down at your slippers and wondered, I just wish they were edible? Well, Bobo’s has introduced a ’first-of-its-kind’ edible shoes, bringing the comfort and home-made roots of the brand to life.
The ’Bake-a-pair’ slippers include Bobo’s signature blend of whole grain oats, organic coconut oil, organic whole cane sugar and brown rice syrup – all mixed in with a generous helping of chocolate chips.
Pumpkin Pet Insurance: Goldfish Plan
Did you know goldfish are the third most common pet in American households? Each year, hundreds of millions are sold every year. That’s a lot of fish that might need insurance.
Surprised it’s taken this long for an insurance company to offer coverage, Pumpkin Pet Insurance has launched the first known ‘Goldfish Plan’.
From coverage for micro-acupuncture therapy to treat the painful gas build-up known as Swim Bladder to nutrition counselling for the fish whose owner is an overzealous feeder, Pumpkin’s plan covers treatment for the most common issues with goldfish, plus a bowlful more.