Are your Customers fools? April Fools, that is.

Spaghetti tree april fools joke

A great April Fools joke can be a great way to connect with your audience. Here are a few examples from the printing and marketing realm, and a few thoughts on how to hit the right note so the joke creates the right kind of associations.

What might just be the best April Fools ever played was staged in the era of black and white TV.

I marvel at two things – the trouble the BBC took to set up the ruse, and the gullibility of the audience.


They broadcast a news segment about the spaghetti harvest in Italy. A farmer guided a reporter through a lovely hillside orchard, where all the trees were fully laden with a bountiful crop of long, straight, dry, noodles. Workers were shown harvesting the spaghetti, lots of detail was added.

The presentation was cheerful but serious – with not quite a stiff upper lip, but a fairly straight face.

People were completely taken in, the Beeb was flooded with calls, and the buzz was good enough for the segment to be shown over and over as I was growing up in the UK. It’s on YouTube if you fancy a laugh.

And here’s the clip on the BBC site.

Now, as a marketer, I recognize a few key ingredients for a really good B2C April Fools prank.

  • A strong relationship with your audience – you wouldn’t prank a stranger
  • Outlandish but plausible claim or promise – don’t go half way
  • Pseudo science – works great
  • Make it relevant to your business offering
  • Keep a (somewhat) straight face
  • Follow up afterwards, share the reactions – that’s half the fun
  • Nobody gets hurt – has to be fun for everyone, even the victim, if there is one

I found some amusing examples of April Fool marketing ideas in my inbox today. Check them out and let me know what you think.

You may already have seen this one

Fairly obvious, but really well crafted

Looks like it actually fooled a lot of people

Like all seasonal marketing, April Fools day presents a great opportunity to connect with people and join the conversations they are already having.