Was it just us, or did companies really embrace April Fools Day this year? Google led the pack with loads of lighthearted announcements, including Google Fiber Dial-up mode, the Smartbox by Inbox (by Gmail by Google), the much talked about Google Maps Pac-Man feature, and com.google. But some companies took the opportunity to poke fun at themselves and their craft, too. CERN, of the Large Hadron Collider, announced the discovery of “The Force” ala Star Wars, and Outdoor Research introduced their new product: Lederhosen for the outdoorsman. Honda played into pop culture with their “HRV Selfie Edition,” and there were plenty of pet-themed gimmicks going around from New Belgium Brewing, Redbox, and T-Mobile.
It’s no surprise that so many businesses are hopping on the April Fools bandwagon. Historically filled mainly with whoopee cushions and prank phone calls, the day provides a marketing outlet for companies to have a sense of humor and promote themselves on social media (hopefully obtaining the all-elusive viral marketing). It can be good for workplace morale, help reach a wider audience than more focused campaigns, and is generally much cheaper than a campaign on any other day. With the success of the hundreds of jokes that plagued the Internet this year, there’s no doubt this marketing technique will continue to expand across industries.