While there are certain corporate marketing campaigns we wish were jokes (we’re looking at you, He Gets Us, and definitely looking at you, Pepsi and Kendall Jenner), other brands successfully walk across the thin tightrope that is crafting artfully humorous campaigns that are memorable yet effective.
We’re not playing a joke on you this April Fools’ Day, but these brands did, and they did so pretty successfully. Read through some of our favorite communication comedy moments. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.
(Honestly, we’re still sittin’ here hoping some of these products successfully see the light of day. This first one is actually pretty useful…)
Bizarre Netflix Categories
Have you ever been sitting around with friends (or home alone in the dark; we’re not judging) talking about what to watch on Netflix? You know the vibe you’re looking for, but you just can’t seem to find the right movie or category that’s gonna scratch that cinematic itch.
Netflix caught onto this ineffable emotion in 2013 when they first launched their April Fools’ streaming category prank. The best was perhaps the category we all would probably binge this weekend, which was “Movies Featuring an Epic Nicolas Cage Meltdown.” Others included:
- Movies About Seriously Pissed Off Wives
- Movies Starring Fruits, Vegetables, & Fungi
- TV Shows Where Defiantly Crossed Arms Means Business
- Movies Starring Actors Who Look Like Zach Galifianakis
- Horror Movies that give John Stamos the Heebie-Jeebies
Honestly, we’re kind of into all of these (especially the last one).
Other April 1st hijinks from the world’s top streaming platform have included public service announcements begging you to take time away from binging content (please, just put the remote down and take a shower). One even included a campaign to “Binge Responsibly.”
Omaha Steaks Meat Sweats Antiperspirant
Hold onto your hats (and your noses), folks. On April Fools' Day in 2022, Omaha Steaks made a meaty splash by introducing their latest innovation: a deodorant for meat sweats. Yep, you heard us right.
Omaha Steaks cooked up a set of roll-on antiperspirants that will, as “marketed” in their Twitter “campaign,” transport you straight to the heart of Beef Country. With mouth-watering scents like original beef, lighter fluid, and mesquite, you can now wear your love of meat on your sleeve (or, rather, your armpits).
Honestly, the mesquite scent sounds like something we’d at least take a whiff of in the store. It’s definitely giving Fourth of July in Austin vibes.
7-Eleven Tiny Gulps
If you didn’t know already, 7-Eleven has become known for its creative and hilarious Twitter stunts (the brand’s Twitter bio currently reads: “my tweets are like taquitos: hot, delicious, and always on a roll”). While the brand’s daily social media interactions are hilariously entertaining, they seem to go extra hard on April Fools’ Day.
7-Eleven's Tiny Gulp campaign for April Fools' Day 2022 was an unprecedented success (that piggybacked off the fact that mini brands had been hot for a while on social). For the first time, 7-Eleven offered its customers a limited edition Tiny Gulp, a 0.7 oz little sip of soda costing seven cents. You know, when you just need an unsatisfying little taste of something that will neither quench your thirst nor satiate your cravings.
While the Tiny Gulp was obviously a joke, it led other top brands to join in on the Twitter conversation. Fanta responded, “Little…. baby…. Fantas????” Sour Patch Kids responded even better, saying, “FINALLY MY SIZE.”
Fresh Poop-Scented Candles From The Farmer’s Dog
Most brands create fake campaigns on April Fools’ Day that lead to retweets, shares, and social chatter. However, The Farmer’s Dog did one better and led users to a landing page for their prank product. Let’s back up a second. The product in question? The delectably scented Candle No. 2, a “fresh, subtly stool-scented fragrance from The Farmer’s Dog.”
While it initially appears to be a joke, the brand linked to a landing page that loaded actual product information with an equally convincing and somehow…engaging description. It evoked sensations of aromas featuring “well-digested USDA-certified meat” that mingled with “vacated vegetables (and an invigorating eau de toilette).”
Honestly, we were pretty convinced. Not that we’d buy a poop-scented candle. No, no. Who would do that? However, as dog owners, we considered it for a second (you know, for Fido).
The whole thing was a cleverly crafted marketing campaign to push tricked clickers to scroll down to “buy food that makes for fresher poops.” Well played, The Farmer’s Dog. Well played.
Duolingo Legal Commercials
If you’ve ever used Duolingo even, like, once, you’ll know just how intense Duo the psychotic criminal owl can be when it’s time to send you daily reminders.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of memes about Duo’s intensity floating around online, and Duolingo famously capitalized on this on April Fools’ Day in 2022 with a satirical law firm commercial that resulted in over 2.5 million views.
It opens with a somber Better Call Saul-type lawyer asking the audience if they’ve ever been “extorted by an enormous green owl?” He then goes on to list, in typical late-night law firm ad fashion, a series of life-threatening claims that could make you eligible for legal compensation. Among them are threats such as “Spanish or vanish” and “Finnish or be finished.”
As tongue-in-cheek as it may be, the commercial succeeded in getting its message across — that if you want to learn something new, there's no escaping the will of Duo.
McDonald’s Sprite Just Hits Different
Their Diet Dr. Pepper does, too, but that’s for another April Fools’ Day (hopefully). When McDonald's and Sprite teamed up for April Fools' Day, they didn't just trick people, they fooled them so well that many simply couldn't tell it was a prank.
Their joke: a canned version of McDonald's Sprite. The co-branded McDonald's Sprite concept was so convincing that people bought into it. Who doesn’t love a “spicy Sprite” from McDonald’s?
It truly does hit different, okay? It’s a culinary and what some might call spiritual experience, folks.
The joke went even further when Sprite shared a photo to their Twitter account that jokingly suggested the beverage may have caused the extinction of dinosaurs. But the real fun began when customers got in on the prank. And honestly, we’d “get in” on it too.
Do you hear us, McDonald’s? Just take our money and make it happen!
We could go on for days, but you get the gist. At Burner, we love a brand that can cater to its audience, playfully indulge in their interests, and poke fun at its product. Other great examples of corporate April Fools’ Day pranks we’ve loved (and might actually try, at least once) include:
- Beef jerky bar soap from Dr. Squatch
- Bud Light’s Bridgerton-themed Seltzer Really Really Retro Pack
- Hellmann's Butterfinger mayo
- V by Velveeta Skincare (yes, the cheese brand)
- The ability to rent your desk during lunch with AirBRB
- A “Whole Foods and Chill” dating app
- Lickable photos from OpenTable
And lastly, we’d love to see Traeger Grills actually release their “hybrid blend of premium, organic Colorado cannabis” wood pellets for grilling. What about you?