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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

April Fools takes extreme marketing to the max

Peyton McKenzie

This year, companies went all out to prank their consumers on April Fools Day. From cringe stunts to realistic pranks, America’s brands had fun branching out and captivating their audience.

Corporations take advantage of this day to benefit from  publicity and increase their social media presence and followers. By fooling customers and changing their products in interesting ways, audiences get their hopes up for drastic flavors and choices.

Some of the most popular fake roll-outs were Olipop’s introduction of a sour cream and onion-flavored soda, while PepsiCo ventured into Extra Flamin’ Hot milk to combat its spicy chips. 7-Eleven even launched its new hot dog-flavored sparkling water inspired by Big Bite hot dogs.

While I would be willing to try Olipop’s sour cream and onion-flavored soda, in no world would I try hot dog water, no matter what brand announced it.

Most companies had fun fooling their customers, going above and beyond to draw attention to themselves.

Language learning app Duolingo’s prank drummed up a lot of commotion. Known for having one of the most relevant and active social teams, there was no chance it missed this opportunity. The company announced “Duolingo (On Ice!),” a new “multilingual musical” starring the Duolingo owl.

Some pranks created new potential possibilities for the companies. Specifically, Tinder announced a new addition to its team: Vice President of Ghost Hunting. The job description is to get to the bottom of unanswered texts and understand the patterns to solve these unmatched matches and revive dead conversations. Even though Tinder admitted that this position was a joke, you can still fill out an application.

Gymbox — an English gym franchise — took a different route, launching Gymbark with dog-only fitness classes, backed by statistics revealing that 54% of pets are overweight or obese. Pet owners can still get in a serious workout without leaving their dog at home. They can exercise with their dogs by practicing “furpees” and end class with tennis ball track sprints.

However, other companies received some backlash.

Oreo gave everyone a scare when the cookie brand announced a divorce. After a century of partnership with 206 flavors, the company revealed the cookie and the cream will be separate, informing fans that just the wafer and just the creme will hit the shelves on April 31. Their “separation” backfired when Mondelez International, Oreo’s parent company, saw its stock drop.

This one almost fooled me because Oreo deleted all posts on its Instagram, including the history of the brand. Its only post on X, formerly known as Twitter, read, “There are no secrets or anyone to blame, we are just two best friends who met at a very young age and have grown over the past 112 years in our own ways.”

But the antics weren’t limited just to companies. Businessman Elon Musk joked that he would be joining Disney as its new chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer.

These April Fools marketing hoaxes went viral on TikTok for their funny and surprising reveals and opportunities. April Fools Day is a way for brands to test out off-the-wall insane ideas to see if they can potentially translate them into reality.

The most extreme pranks are done more as a strong public relations play to boost brand awareness rather than market sales. Some brands vary in how seriously a marketing team will treat the day. Some will notify their agencies by sending them a brief requesting ideas for the day because they plan to spend millions of dollars to execute their prank, according to Digiday.

So why do we care about these stunts?

This holiday of pranks has been absorbed by brands as a marketing holiday. It’s a great opportunity for companies to capitalize on new audiences and ideas for their brands, show off their personalities and get attention by proving they have a sense of humor and are willing to poke fun at themselves.

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About the Contributors
Grace Conneely-Nolan
Grace Conneely-Nolan, Associate Arts & Life Editor
Peyton McKenzie
Peyton McKenzie, Creative Director

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