April Fool's Day marketing: why pranking pays

April Fool's Day isn't just a time for harmless pranks among friends and family anymore. For marketers, it's become a golden opportunity for brands to showcase their creativity, wit and sense of humour in the name of brand promotion. In recent years, we've witnessed a surge in companies leveraging this key calendar date to captivate audiences, garner attention and drive sales.

But why has April Fool's Day become such a hotspot for marketers? The answer lies in the perfect storm of consumer engagement and brand exposure. As society becomes increasingly saturated with advertisements and promotional content, brands constantly seek new ways to cut through the noise and leave a lasting impression on their audience. April Fool's Day offers a unique platform to do just that, by tapping into the spirit of fun and mischief and giving some of those left-field campaign ideas a chance in the spotlight.

And while it's true that many consumers are savvy enough to see through the ruse of a Peri-Peri flavoured lip kit launched by a famous Chicken chain restaurant, or a dating app claiming to ban ‘catch of the day’ fish pics on profiles, the element of surprise and amusement still holds tremendous power. The ability to connect with your audience, start conversations and spark laughter makes a well-executed April Fool’s Day campaign worth its weight in gold.

Take the Irn Bru and Tunnock’s teacake football strip hoax. The cracking collaboration between Irn-Bru, Tunnock's, and the Scottish Football Association for the launch of the new national team kits ahead of the 2020 Euros stands out for its clever blend of Scottish pride, humour, and brand alignment.

A man is seen wearing two different football kits. On the left it is an Irn Bru kit: orange and dark blue with 'bubbles'. On the right it is Tunnock's: the top has the red and yellow stripes of a Caramel Wafer, but the shorts are red and white, looking like the wrapper of a Tunnock's tea cake

Photo from The Scottish Sun

The campaign captured widespread media attention and social media buzz by boldly branding the national team kits with Irn-Bru and Tunnock's logos. This wasn’t just a subtle sponsorship logo on an arm of a jersey; it was a full-on, in-your-face branded Irn-Bru and Tunnock's kits.

Displaying a fantastic effort in its ability to integrate brand identities in line with a national event, the campaign successfully tapped into the passion of Scottish football fans and embraced the fun, light-hearted and cheeky brand personas of Irn-Bru and Tunnock's. It was a really simple idea, with minimal costs involved, and not only generated significant traction but also successfully resonated with its target audience. Fans were clamouring to buy the kit even after realising what date it was!

April Fool's Day marketing campaigns can create a lasting impact on audiences, stretching well beyond the 1st of April. From clever fake product launches to elaborate hoaxes, these stunts highlight the creativity and ingenuity behind the brand, forging a stronger relationship with consumers.

If only leopard print koalas were real…