Cashing in on April Fools' Day

Yesterday, we saw several businesses take part in online pranks, from long-time participants (Google) to more recent contributors (the White House). Some pranks were a little bizarre (pizza-flavored Tic Tacs), while others left us wishing they were a reality (Sony's headphones for cats).

While surfing the Internet and spotting all the fake product releases on April 1 is entertaining for consumers, is it actually profitable for the companies that engage in all the tomfoolery?

The answer is yes.

April Fools’ Day is a golden opportunity for marketers to get free publicity, test new product offerings and set their brand apart.

Free Publicity

Think about how many articles were posted in major publications yesterday reiterating “The Best April Fools’ Day Online Pranks.” All that free publicity really adds up for businesses, which is why marketers are the ones behind the scenes coordinating and creating the elaborate content. For example, Google, who planned more than ten fake announcements on April 1, created a video, landing page and scent search results for Google Nose alone.

Testing Ground

Businesses such as Think Geek used April Fools’ Day to pilot some of its zanier ideas. A few years ago, Think Geek introduced Canned Unicorn Meat into its fake product lineup, and after receiving an overwhelming amount of feedback from its customers begging for the prank product to actually be offered, it obliged. The product sold out within weeks.


A parody is a great way to set your business apart from the competition. Even if your company doesn’t usually put on a humorous tone, participating in April Fools’ Day makes your brand more dynamic and allows you to connect with customers on a new level.

If you’ve never entered the realm of April Fools’ Day corporate gags and are worried about confusing your consumers, start small. Next year, use social media as an outlet to try out an obvious prank where humor is readily accepted and see if it improves your social reach.