Cup of Joe: Is “April Fools” Good Marketing? Just Plain Fun? Or None Of The Above?
So, by now you are probably sick of all the April Fools jokes that are circling the Internet. To be honest, my contempt for all the jokes started last year. I mean seriously, isn’t this getting kind of old? Why are we fawning over these ridiculous jokes? And isn’t a bit cliche to pull a prank on the only day of the year reserved for it? It seems that if your company really wanted to gain attention from a prank they would stage one in July, or a time of the year that isn’t known for this type of foolishness. But, despite my disgust for these time wasters, I have put together a short list of this years highlights. Let me know what you think of each.
- Google’s fake job posting for “Autocompleter” – This one almost got me.
- Klout’s new SMS analyst tool. – This one is again borderline believable seeing how Klout has built a business around fooling everyone with their pointless metrics.
- Youtube celebrates its 100th anniversary. – being the steampunk fanboy that I am, I enjoyed this one, and it looks like you can continue to add &vintage=1911 at the end of any YouTube url to turn the video into a silent old timey film.
- LinkedIn allows users to connect with famous dead people. – creative, but a waste of time.
- AdWords on a Blimp. – I wonder what the CPC is for these?
- Techcrunch reports that Demand Media’s CEO has a yacht called AdSense. – This one is funny because it looks almost identical to other times TC has tried to stir up drama.
- HootSuite releases “Happy Owls”, as opposed to “Angry Birds” – This one is interesting in that they let the cat out of the bag when the user goes to download the game. I guess they had enough sense not to take it to far!
- Gmail launches “Motion”. – Look at the guy doing the demo in the video, SNL should hire him! LOL
- Hulu goes back to the 90s. – This will induce a nostalgia over load!
- RC Eagle – an iPhone-controllable Wi-Fi eagle powered by the sun. – Need I say more?
- Matt Cutts announces CuttsCon. Best session to me looks like. “Matt & His Cats”
- SERPd annouces that they are changing ownership and then changes their logo. – I have no confirmation whether this is a prank or not, but, my gut says it is.
- Bing changes home page image to laughing seal. – Not really a prank, but silly.
- Seth Godin launches White Space Ads. – I swear I have seen some sites that already use these!
So when do you prank, and when do you not? Well, heres a tip. People love to be entertained and they hate to be lied to. So if your prank is entertaining to everyone involved, then you are doing good work. If you are just spreading fake news and gossip to attract links and eyeballs, then you aren’t building trust and engaging your audience correctly. Marketing is about leavening relationships, not ruining them.