Brands Get Playful for April Fools’ Day

April 1, 2013

Today marks the day each year when you should be wary of social media and news outlets. That’s right, it’s April Fools’ Day.

The hoax holiday offers a unique opportunity for brands – the chance to appeal to new consumers and garner earned media attention, all with minimal risk to existing relationships. Brand teams and creative agencies can explore sarcasm and snark, launch faux-products, address controversy or criticism… and all with an understanding that nothing will be taken too seriously.

Last week two brands teased their April Fools Day plans in what I can only assume is an effort to make some noise before the clutter begins.

American Eagle

The retailer announced it would be expanding its jean offerings with “AEO Skinny Skinny Jeans.” Available in multiple washes, the newest skinny jeans are nothing more than spray paint and described on AE.com as “contoured through the thigh, knee & ankle. They fit like a second skin.”

The campaign for the contoured pants is anything but skinny — American Eagle is pushing out a hashtag (#AEOSkinnySkinny), offering the limited-edition package for purchase online (TBD on if anyone was actually able to purchase the spray-on-denim) and has produced a commercial-worthy video.

It’s a rather successful attempt to light-heartedly poke fun at the skinny craze with fun copy, mildly salacious visuals and multiple consumer touch points. By mocking the wearers of non-pants pants, the retailer becomes more appealing to older millenials, especially those who may have turned to Madewell (and the like) after writing off American Eagle as a teeny bopper brand.

Proctor & Gamble

It’s a big day for bacon fanatics. Today will determine whether Bacon lovers everywhere can officially fight cavities with the other white meat by rinsing with P&G’s bacon flavored Scope. The consumer goods giant rolled out the news late last week on Twitter, including an official hashtag (#ScopeBacon).

Spokespeople from Scope have declined to comment prior to 8 p.m. on April 1, according to AdAge, which means Scope Bacon will likely never see light on store shelves. But, hey, I may eat my words.

 

These are likely the first of many April Fools’ Day jokes to be seen from brands so remember, don’t take anything too seriously. Not sure what to expect? Check out a couple hoaxes from previous years.

Toshiba took 3D to a new level with Toshiba Spectacle: The World’s First and Only 3D Monocle.

 

Warby Parker threw a bone to dog lovers and announced the Warby Barker Canine Collection.

 

The secret ingredient behind Nike Air was revealed.

 

Google launched a smart solution for people with fat fingers with Google Tap, Morse Code for the 21st century.

 

NPR announced tweets would shrink to 133 characters and offered 20 other fake headlines for readers to enjoy, including “Facebook Adds ‘Meh’ Button.”

 

Conan O’Brien took Mashable into his own hands and ended the reign of Pete Cashmore – for a day.