April Fool’s Day Has Become a Marketing Free-For-All

April Fool's

So April Fool’s is once again upon us, and the Internet has lost its mind. From Google’s augmented reality Pokémon game, to sightings of a mythical manatee-dolphin off the coast of Florida, the hits just keep coming. April Fool’s has become a day for the Internet, and as with any event, marketers are interested in capitalizing on it. It’s not all just for laughs.

Nest, a home appliance company that specializes in rethinking things like the thermostat, teamed up with Virgin America to produce a slick ad for its new Total Temperature Control. The new product controls the highly localized climate of your airplane seat.

The ad’s soft tech-product music and high production value almost had me, as did the presence of Richard Branson. But the ‘Chicago Polar Vortex’ setting would likely tip off even unsavvy viewers. We’ll still be talking about Nest and Virgin Airlines, even if we can’t buy the product.

Some pitches are so ridiculous that they simply must be April Fool’s pranks. DSW posted a video and product pages for the monopod — a shoe that accommodates both feet at once. It comes in oxford, moccasin and running varieties (or maybe that’s hopping variety). Their ad was featured prominently on The Onion today, and they’re likely to get a lot of exposure for their stores.

Other pitches are equally ridiculous, but do actually yield a larger marketing stunt than just an ad. Cheetos is releasing a perfume today, in a limited run. The ad is funny, and the ‘Cheeteau’ name is a fine pun, but perfume reps are actually taking to Madison Avenue in New York and The Grove in Los Angeles to shill the stuff. The desire for all things funny today has become a larger marketing stunt for a perfume that smells like “a movie theater concessions stand after the nacho station exploded” according to Mike Fahey of Kotaku.

Every business is keen to get in on the fun and fakery. The St.Petersburg/Clearwater tourism office provided evidence for the manafin today — a part-dolphin, part-manatee creature, apparently off the waters of the Florida coast. “To have a sighting of one of these hybrid mammals anywhere is an extraordinary thing,” said Clearwater Marine Aquarium trainer John Widick.

It’s not clear how effective these marketing stunts will be. Those desperate to smell like Cheetos will be taking to social media for this one-time offer. April Fool’s day isn’t really about getting fooled anymore, not when the Internet can debunk something within minutes. Now it’s a marketing free-for-all, when all you really need to advertise is your company’s wit and humor to pique the interest of prospective customers.

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