April Fool’s and the White Noise of Brand Marketing

Domino's edibox

Just in case you weren’t aware, yesterday was April Fool’s. A day for all manner of utterly hilarious japes and pranks (cling film over the toilet bowl, anyone?) when anarchy is not only allowed but actively encouraged.

In such an environment, brands come out to play. And boy, did brands come out to play!

April 1st 2014 saw an unprecedented number of brands getting in on the pranking act. Everyone from Tetley (biscuit-flavoured tea) to Specsavers (the Mona Lisa wore contacts) to Vegemite (new energy drink) to Lego (delivery by turtle) to Amazon (Kindle cover with the smell of old books) to Thorpe Park (dogs allowed to ride rollercoasters) was at it. And the list goes on and on and on and on.

In fact, Domino’s was so proud of its edible box (pictured above), it posted it no less than four times on its Facebook Page. It may have been well-executed, but four?! Is that not overkill?

White Noise

The issue I have with all of this good-natured japery is that there was so much of it that it all became a bit tiresome. The fun was taken out of it by yet another brand announcing a ‘hilarious’ new product variant or yet another media title posting a fake story. I mean really The Sun, the Queen fracking for gas? Jeesh.

fracking

The whole thing reminded me of #RoyalBaby, when everyone wanted a piece of the real-time marketing action. At the time I said that the reason so many brands attracted criticism was twofold: because everyone tried to ride the same topical wave, and because creative executions were lazy. For me, the same largely applies to April Fool’s.

I’ve seen very little that was genuinely inventive or clever from yesterday. It was all just a bit obvious. And real-time marketing it is not.

Is this fair criticism? Or am I just lacking a sense of humour?

Well, for balance, here are a couple of executions that I genuinely did like. Both of them work because although they’re mildly ridiculous, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that they could actually be real things. They’re just the right side of unbelievable.

Marmite’s Doughmites was executed superbly. Did they actually make these? If you follow the brand, you’ll know they may well have done or may well do in future!

doughmites

And American beer brand Samuel Adams’ helium-carbonated beer is just outright funny.

Thoughts?

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Posted by Paul Sutton

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