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Fool's Day Marketing

Every year, April 1st is the day when people choose to play practical jokes and hoaxes (a lot more than usual) on others in order to evoke laughter. Now that nearly every brand has a presence on the Internet with a good number of people following them, it makes perfect sense for them to play a prank or two and while making the people that come across it laugh, also garner some attention for the brand.

April Fool's Day is now seen as a good avenue to increase brand awareness. So, naturally, you have marketers planning for this ahead of time. While its true that this is no Superbowl, it is still an opportunity for every brand to strike a chord with their regular followers. It hardly costs anything either.

So what makes for a good prank?

When a brand creates a Fool's Day prank for its followers, it must ensure that the content of the prank lies within the ambit of what the brand stands for. If the prank shows something in a negative light, its probably best to use self-deprecating humour than berate a competitor. But brands must be mindful to do this only when its certain that its followers know exactly what to expect from the brand.

Pranks that call for user action in terms of making a purchase or turning up to a retail outlet or service outlet must be completely avoided. Attempting to make sales through a prank is equivalent to blatantly lying to the customer, and no brand that wants a repeat purchase must even consider this.

Finally, its better to have a prank that's in-the-face and leaves customers laughing, than that gets the followers doubting the authenticity of the prank. The last thing a brand wants is for its followers to believe that the prank is the truth.

Keeping these in mind, I've picked one prank each that I liked and didn't like.

Virgin hopes you aren't terrified of heights!

Virgin claimed to launch a glass-bottomed plane. Like!

Meanwhile, Microsoft put up a fake Instagram app (it's not available for phones with Windows OS) for Windows phones. "It's a free, fun, and simple way to share gorgeous photos on your Windows Phone, your #2InstaWithLove prayers have been answered," read the entry. This is not self-deprecating humour. This is just self-deprecating. Dislike!

GoogleNose was a good one as well. Especially when they said "Get your nose really close to the screen". 

What pranks did you like or dislike yesterday?

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