April Fools’ Day’s origin is uncertain, and traditions may vary from one country to another. But the general idea stays the same: on April 1, everyone plays practical jokes. So be careful, or you will get pranked.
In France, Belgium, French-speaking areas of Switzerland and Canada, and in Italy, in addition to pranks, kids (ok, sometimes adults, too) draw a fish on a piece of paper and tape it on the back of their classmate. When the person discovers it, which might take a while, people scream “Poisson d’avril” or “Pesce d’aprile”, “April fish” in English. In Portugal on the other hand, the custom is to throw flour at each other; hopefully you don’t have an important meeting that day.
Every year, on another level, companies try to create buzz and be the most creative. While Southwest Airlines offers trips to Mars, Google Maps launches The Pokemon Challenge and YouTube announces the eight-year contest that will finally end by selecting who has made the best YouTube video.
Playing along on April Fools’ Day gives you the opportunity to connect with your customers in a funny and casual way. Keep in mind this advice in order to create an effective campaign:
- Play pranks relevant to your business that will reflect the image of the company
- Have a business goal in mind such as promoting a new product or increasing brand awareness
- Make it fun for everyone; don’t hurt anyone’s feelings
- Keep it short and simple
- Maintain the dialogue with your customers, even after the prank
Prove to your customers you have a great sense of humor and you’ll see, it feels great to take things not too seriously once in a while.