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  • 04.01.13

When Marketing’s A Joke: 13 Boffo April Fools’ Stunts

April Fools’ Day pranks are not just for friends and family. Here are some of the best recent examples of brands hoping you were born yesterday.

On April 1, 2010, a bunch of New Yorkers were made into fools. A rumor began circulating that day that the near-mythic West Coast eatery In-N-Out Burger was coming to New York. A fresh sign adorning a building on 22nd Street and Broadway assured hopeful pedestrians that they were standing at the future site of a burger joint that lets diners order animal-style. Unfortunately, nobody gleefully sharing the news seemed to realize it was April Fools’ Day.

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In the case of the Great NYC Burger Hoax, In-N-Out was not the instigator. While nobody stepped up to officially claim responsibility, the company itself categorically denied involvement. There are plenty of other brands, however, who are not above pulling the wool over consumer eyes for one day of the year. In fact, Google does so every year (here’s two of this year’s) gags. The keys to a triumphant April Fools’ Day prank are: even if it’s outrageous, there’s at least some element of believability; and the gag doesn’t leave consumers feeling cheated.

Look through the slide show above for 13 examples of brands that got it right, such as Sony, who presented the computer you see below as the world’s smallest Ultrabook on April 1, 2012.


About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.

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