Real or fake? Product and campaign launches this April Fool's Day
It's the time of the year when brands tickle consumers with their creative April Fool's jokes. With the pandemic taking its toll on consumers over the past two years, the jokes certainly come at a great time to liven up the mood.
There were 178k mentions of April Fool's online between 26 March to 1 April, according to statistics from Meltwater. This was a 639% increase compared to the previous seven days. The number of average mentions per day were 25.4k during this period. The activity also jumped from 14.5k on 30 March to 86.5k on 1 April. Some of the trending keywords included "joke" "food panda", "prank delivery men", and "somebody's emotions".
According to Meltwater, Twitter posts warning netizens not to prank foodpanda and other delivery drivers drove rather high engagement. Meanwhile, most of the mentions around April Fool's came from the US followed by Australia, the UK, China, and Canada. The majority of the sentiment (67%) was neutral while 15% were positive and negative respectively.
Mimrah Mahmood, senior director and partner, Meltwater told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that brands around the world have consistently leveraged April Fool’s Day as a light-hearted way to connect with consumers and show that they can have a bit of fun, too. However, as the pranks and jokes become more elaborate, expectations have risen as has the risk of consumer fatigue.
“The most important thing for brands to remember while devising such campaigns is to toe the line between humour and insensitivity – keep things fresh and engaging, without causing inconvenience or hurting any sentiments. Leveraging tools like social listening and audience insights will help them better navigate consumer preferences and boundaries, thus paving the way for strong, results-driven campaigns," he explained.
Here's a look at how brands in Asia are bringing their most outrageous ideas to life this April Fool's.
Fried chicken restaurants always tout themselves to having the freshest chicken, but 4FINGERS Malaysia is taking it up a notch this year by having a restaurant inside a chicken farm...for April Fool's Day. 4FINGERS prides itself in serving only the freshest ingredients. The brand, together with Actstitude, felt it was essential to accentuate our brand DNA through an April Fool's Day joke.
"We wanted to 'Keep it real. Real good.' as our food is prepared only upon order, using fresh chicken and fresh ingredients that are hand-brushed to crispy perfection," Belinda Ho, 4FINGERS Malaysia's head of marketing, told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.
The brand hopes for this to be more than just a social post and have consumers view 4FINGERS as a brand that serves only the freshest. "Aside from that, we hope to generate some social talkability about our products," Ho added. 4FINGERS and the Actstitude team also came up with The Saucy Sanitiser idea. Although it was relevant to the occasion, Ho said the team felt it was a little too ordinary and did not showcase the brand message as much as it would like to.
Currently, 4FINGERS plans to launch new stores nationwide along with some new sauces and products. With sauces being a big part of 4FINGERS, the brand plans to use them to strengthen its market positioning. While Ho declined to reveal how much of 4FINGERS' marketing budget has shifted to digital, she said the company is currently focusing much of its efforts on primary digital platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
High-tech sex toy brand Arcwave surprised consumers as it entered the household appliance market with its latest vacuum cleaner-inspired sex toy, VaCum.
This new innovation by Arcwave is said to be a two-in-one product that functions as both a hand-held vacuum and pleasure stroker, that can oscillate between a vacuum and pleasure function. Arcwave cheekily states how “conventional vacuum cleaners are sometimes used for masturbation". But since they are not traditionally designed to come into contact with human bodies, Vacum was conceptualised to address this issue.
Arcwave is best known for its Pleasure Air Technology and for being home to the world’s first air-pulsating penis stroker, Ion. VaCum looks to make its official debut on 18 April. The brand's spokesperson confirmed that this was an April Fool's joke.
Atome Singapore has launched "Atome Scents", a feature that allows users to smell their favourite dishes before tasting them. Users can opt for one of three scent variations - Late Night Cravings, Dessert Junkie and Savoury Snacks - a clever ploy on Singaporeans' many food cravings. The advertisement for the April Fool's campaign shows a user tapping on the Atome Scent feature, and a whiff of the scent radiating out of one's phone upon doing so.
Burger King Taiwan
Burger King Taiwan took its menu to the next level with the inauguration of the loaded strawberry beef burger, an April Fool's special. The burger is available until 5 April and the brand's super loaded beef burger also makes a comeback during this event, for a limited time.
According to Burger King, the loaded strawberry burger contains two grilled beef patties, cheese and strawberry sauce. The burgers will be available at most outlets across Taiwan and sells at US$6.22 a la carte, and US$7.63 as a set meal.
This is not Burger King's first time pranking its customers with counterintuitive burger meals, having come up with the Chocolate Whopper and a burger without buns in previous years. The chocolate whopper debuted on Burger King's official menu on 1 April 2021. Despite initially drawing scepticism, Burger King told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: "After the year we've all had, we're also not feeling in the mood to prank you or be pranked, so we're keeping it real this April Fool's.
Singapore-based Carzuno, a car subscription company, has launched a new product vertical - Carzuno Lite - on its website. The new vertical is a toy car subscription that helps realise the childhood dreams of car enthusiasts. From Lambos, to Ferraris, to even superhero cars, people can subscribe for under SG$10 per month and own their dream cars.
Popular models of pop culture icons such as Batman and James Bond have cars that are included in the list of subscriptions available, going at SG$7 and SG$4 per month respectively. The fee also includes complimentary servicing, 24/7 roadside assistance and insurance, amongst other perks. With its alluring concept and catchy visuals, car lovers and toy collectors are sure to be swayed. However, a decisive click on the "Find my toy car" button reveals that no such subscription package really exists. Rather, Carzuno cleverly leads its audience to browse through its "real" car subscription plans.
Domino’s Pizza Singapore teased fans with its plan to launch a one-of-a-kind gaming keyboard this April Fools, also fitted with a special key that serves as a shortcut for users to save their favourite pizza flavours.
With gaming being a popular industry in Singapore, Domino’s incorporated the slogan ‘Always here for your gaming needs.’ Digital marketing manager Chia Jia Zhen said the brand recognisesthat fans of Domino’s Pizza Singapore come from many different communities, brought together by their love for its hot pizzas. "This includes avid gamers in Singapore, who are all too familiar with the comfort and ease of picking up slices of their favourite pizzas in between (or even during) games," Chia added.
With the launch of Domino’s exclusive keyboard, the brand hopes to bring greater convenience to its fans and spread joy on gaming nights.
Earlier this week, Durex surprised consumers by launching its latest streetwear, with the tagline "Durex on your body everywhere". While many thought that this was an April Fool's joke, the brand indeed commented that this launch is the real deal.
Although an unconventional move from the condom brand, according to Durex, the launch of their streetwear collection is to empower individuals to make bolder condom purchases and become more sex-positive. Playing on Gen-Z fashion trends, the taglines "Safe Tee First" and "Wrap That Head" can be found on oversized tees, other products including slogan tees, statement socks, bucket hats and tote bags.
Dyson made waves with its announcement of a new product: the Dyson Zone, a set of air-purifying headphones with active noise cancellation features. Marking the brand’s first foray into wearable technology, the Dyson Zone is a result of over a decade of research and development on tackling urban issues of air quality and noise pollution. The noise-cancelling function serves to deliver immersive sound to the ears, and purified airflow to the nose and mouth.
At first glance, this might seem like an April Fool's joke given it was officially unveiled on 30 March. However, Dyson clarified on Twitter that this was no April Fool's joke.
The brand even went full throttle in explaining the vision and mission behind the Dyson Zone, giving a highly detailed explanation of its features, highlighting the six years of development it took and using issues relating to air quality to supplement its marketing and storytelling. The brand even went so far as to reinforce the extreme testing measures that were taken, of which include testing in temperature-controlled chambers, drop-testing and material and fabric testing, to create the complete product.
Farmhouse Fresh Malaysia's latest product Milk Pod comes #StraightFromAussie. Harvested fresh from the fields of Australia, Milk Pod allows anyone to enjoy milk as one would straight from an Australian farm. So how does it work? One simply has to attach a fresh Milk Pod to any tap at their home and switch it on and voila, fresh milk. Dubbed as patented tech, it is indeed a fresh innovation that is sure to garner interest.
Sounds too good to be true? Indeed, the brand revealed that this product was ideated especially for April Fool's, but the story behind the conceptualisation of this marketing campaign reveals a strategic message – that Farmhouse’s milk is already as fresh as one would find it to be in Australia.
Farmhouse partnered up with creative agency, The Chariot Agency, to advertise a campaign that was “left field, but able to break through the saturated dairy space.” April Fool's Day marked the best time to drive home Farmhouse’s desire to emphasise the fresh quality of its milk without taking itself too seriously. As ideal as the Milk Pod may be, the brand wanted to reinforce to its customers that Farmhouse goes to great lengths to ensure its products are delivered to the customer as fresh as the Milk Pod would.
foodpanda Hong Kong
foodpanda Hong Kong creatively explores cross-country food delivery services with its newest subscription service, pandapro MAX, that allows for those craving delicious food from other countries to get the same experience at their doorstep. In addition to this is an at-home Omakase dining service and even dating matching services, and many more.
While pandapro MAX aims to deliver a global culinary and cultural experience, a spokesperson from the company told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that this was sadly just a special campaign for April Fool’s. As ideal as pandapro MAX sounds, the recent lifting up of COVID-19 restrictions across APAC makes travel and enjoying food from other countries a plausible reality once more.
IKEA Hong Kong
The company has launched an NFT project titled "Non-Furniture Treasure". In a Facebook post that contains 99 photos, the company said: "The 99 pieces of IKEA NFT* (Non-Furniture Treasure) - the treasure (aka trash) left behind at the IKEA stores by customers. And now, they are open for purchase."
The company invites customers to take photos of those 99 items mentioned in the post. After uploading the photo to the respective comment section and providing the reason for hoping to own the "NFT”, the participant with the most likes can have the real item of that "NFT" and the respective “IKEA NFT Collection Reward”, which offers the winner a hot dog coupon after receiving the most likes. Participants will win up to 30 hot dog coupons if they collect 10 NFTs.
The company added: "After this IKEA NFT event, we hope everyone won’t leave any more treasure at IKEA. Otherwise, there will be another round of this IKEA NFT event. *All the NFT are cleaned by our editor, uniqueness and freshness assured!"
Launched at 1:20 am on 1 April, the post received more than 1,900 reactions at the time of writing. Lastly, the brand urged customers to visit IKEA Hong Kong's stores and join the competition.
Irvins Salted Egg entices fans with a whole new salted egg experience with the ‘Salted Egg Cheesy Body Scrub.’ Stacked with cheesy Vitamin B, the scrub is the “ideal preparation for hydration.”
Marketed as an invigorating exfoliant that immaculately cleanses and polishes the skin, Irvins employs a vibrant visual that depicts the popular salted egg in all its glory. With this product, not only can salted egg be consumed, but it can be used as skin food as well.
With the scrub enclosed in neat packaging and containing a salted-egg coloured scrub, fans are sure to eat Irvin’s April Fool’s launch up in no time.
Hopping on the health and wellness trend, KFC Singapore releases its very own take on chicken essence with its KFC Essence of Chicken this April Fool's, introducing a delicious path to wellness. Crediting "years of research and testing" as key to the innovation behind this product, KFC's chicken essence is specially made for those who are not fans of the dish. The new product is perfected by an "advanced extraction technique that reaps the benefits of the fresh fried chicken that KFC uses, while ensuring that the classic flavours stay intact throughout the process."
KFC also jokingly promised to also release two flavours of the essence, in either its Original Recipe or Hot & Crispy versions.
From snaking queues upon launches of food outlets such as Shake Shack and Eggslut, Singaporeans’ love for food is a well-known fact. Laurier SIngapore took up this chance to harp on this by putting a local twist on its sanitary pad products, asking on social media for buyers to choose between a "chicken rice pad" or a "nasi lemak pad" - two of Singapore’s most beloved local dishes.
The post drew over 150 reactions and shares, with many taking it upon themselves to comment upon the incredulity of the product. While some recognised that this was indeed an April Fool's marketing ploy, others joked about why there weren’t more "flavours".
The metaverse’s influence spreads to all demographics with Lessons.com.au’s latest course, “How to explain NFTs to your elderly relatives.”
Lessons.com.au asks this April Fool’s to set your mind at ease from having to explain the ever-elusive metaverse to your burgeoning elders. Free for all, the course helps navigate awkward encounters with haste through 4 core units of study. Module titles go from “It’s like Facebook, but also not” and “Imagine if you could right-click the Mona Lisa.”
Stick or dip? Valid on 1 April only, Meiji Singapore unveiled a limited edition of its YanYan product. Instead of the traditional biscuit sticks with chocolate dip, buyers would have the choice of either purchasing a pack that is "all dip" or "all stick" - or both. This was done in collaboration with PROTOCOL Singapore.
Last week, Singapore cookie brand Nasty Cookie announced its new Cookie Fries as part of an April Fool's special. While images on its official social accounts show deceptively real looking fries being dipped into a sauce that resembles ketchup, Nasty Cookie were quick to mention that these were “fries that will never turn soggy" reaffirming their cookie base.
The Cookie Fries will be available in three different flavours and sauces: original, strawberry and chocolate, and will also be available in a combo box. Taking other types of diets into question, there is also a "vegan order" that buyers can opt for instead. The Nasty Fries are available until 30 April.
Following up on the buzz it generated on April Fool's in 2017, Reddit relaunched its art collective today. While it began as a joke in the subreddit r/Place by Josh Wardle – creator of Wordle - the movement was surprisingly popular with Reddit users. This collective movement allows users to place tiles on a communal blank digital canvas, resulting in a jointly created art piece. In 2017, more than one million users participated, with approximately 16 million tiles being placed.
After popular demand, the movement is finally back. It will be available for users to play with for 87 hours starting 9am on 1 April until 11:59pm on 4 April (CET). Executive VP of strategy and special projects Alex Le said the move was meant to showcase “the magic of online communities, conversation, and collaboration", and is eager to seeing how the renewed movement will allow the platform to improve.
Shake Shack Singapore
The popular burger joint in Singapore serves up a new “Fry-Day Burger,” in light of April Fool’s falling on a Friday this year. Initially touting the product to be available weekly on Fridays, Shake Shack quickly responded by claiming this to be an April Fool’s gag, highlighting that this year’s April Fool’s is just another regular “fry-day.”
ShopBack Singapore breaks hearts with its latest April Fool’s gag, offering buyers a chance to win a Land Rover in a giveaway. While initial images on the company’s Instagram post show off a deceptively real Land Rover, further scrolling reveals that the car in question is that of a toy Land Rover and only one “lucky” winner will be selected for this alluring campaign.
In spite of the fake out, many comments on the post were appreciative of the good humour and of ShopBack SG’s efforts this April Fool's.
This April Fools, accounting service firm Sleek, asks its clients to register companies in the metaverse. By registering, no taxes will ever have to be paid, with the absence of local governance and authority in the metaverse making it an ideal place for businesses to take-off and grow.
Posted on the company’s blog page, Sleek provides readers information as to what kind of service they can offer should a company register itself on the metaverse, highlighting many cons that would come to the businesses in doing so. Sleek does not entice its customer base for too long, by quickly cheering “Happy April Fools.”
Sleek then asks readers to share the article, and leads people to consider their 100% real digital incorporation services - a strategic play from the company. Sleek is even offering a SG100 voucher to make up for the post-prank blues to anyone who signs up to their newsletter.
Toast Box Singapore
Did you know that Toast Box has a new boxing gym known as Toast Boxing? Toast Boxing made its debut today along with a class bundle, which compromises 10 sets of traditional kaya toasts with 10 boxing classes. The brand also refreshed its logo for this special occasion, updating its name to "Toast Boxing" with the tagline "Boxing Gym by Toast Box". The logo also features a minimally designed boxing glove, that is reminiscent of a loaf of bread.
Inviting Singaporeans to "pack a punch, then pack your brunch", fans of the brand were quick to share their joy online, some wishing for the promotion to be real. This was done in collaboration with PROTOCOL Singapore.
Early this week, tech brand Xiaomi made a surprise announcement that it will be launching a tablet in India, much to consumers' delight on social media. That said, some consumers also speculated this to be an April Fool's joke.
However, the brand later revealed that the news was indeed no more than an April Fool's farce, according to media reports. In spite of the excitement and overall positive reactions, there were also reasons to not believe the news, such as there being no official releases date or any noticeable marketing content buzzing around.
Last year, surprise around public pranks and jokes was the most dominant emotion on social media, Meltwater said. Joy and love were the secondary emotions, as netizens shared a collective laugh and reinforced their brand love through engaging in these April Fools campaigns.
Last year saw many brands ride on the April Fool's wave, most notably within the automotive industry, with brands such as Volkswagen, Tesla, and Toyota jumping on board. There were also online mentions of universities globally, including University of Michigan, Duke University, and Northwestern University. According to Meltwater, they stem from academic commentaries and responses to April Fool's campaigns and whether it is still relevant for brands to be participating in such publicity stunts.
Volkswagen stood out with its joke around changing the company’s name to "Voltswagen". The campaign generated over 80,000 organic online reactions, but eventually backfired and resulted in them having to apologize soon after.
Writer, S. (2022b, April 1). Staff Writer. Marketing-Interactive. https://www.marketing-interactive.com/real-fake-april-fools-2022