Lock up your silly string and hide the duct tape, April Fool’s Day is coming! But as a small business owner, you shouldn’t just be battening down the hatches and waiting out the storm. This year, make your mark on the holiday with your own online April Fool’s pranks, memes, and other fun holiday jokes that will get your name in the business pranks hall of fame.
You can’t go far online without tripping over a meme or two, but sharing memes isn’t quite the creative wild west it seems. While fair use and freedom of expression cover most of the use of memes on social media by individuals, things become murkier once you start using other people’s memes for your business.
That’s right, now that you’re representing a small business, using popular memes on your website, social media, or other marketing without express permission from the creators can open you up for an easy cease-and-desist with a bill attached from companies who have bots scouring the internet for exactly that kind of activity. That’s why, when it comes to using any sort of creative asset online, you should always either find Creative Commons work to use or make your own.
Note for marketing: Notice how we snuck in a promo for this blog in our homemade meme? You can do the same with yours! Creating your own memes means total creative freedom to say what you want, including promoting your business with a joke.
Every year businesses will release their online April Fool’s pranks on their websites, social media, and more. These pranks range from inventing things that already exist, promoting ridiculous products that should absolutely never exist, to exciting one-day promotions to help customers enjoy the silliest holiday of the year. But what makes the big winners every year so successful? Here are a few top pranks and jokes pulled by businesses that resulted in laughs, customer connections, and a great April Fool’s Day.
Burger King did a great job with this type of prank. According to Hoaxes.org, on April Fool’s Day in 1998, Burger King “launched” their left-handed Whopper burger. It was promoted to be exactly like their normal Whoppers, but with all of the components rotated 180 degrees (no, that doesn’t change it at all.) The people who got the joke laughed, and the people who didn’t? Thousands lined up to buy the new left-handed burger, boosting sales and turning into the best prank/promotion ever.
What made it so successful? This prank not only promoted something new, but it was 100% fulfillable. Because there’s no actual difference between a left handed and right handed whopper (toppings in general tend to be symmetrical) there was no concern of disgruntled customers or unfulfilled promises.
In 2015, Tesco, a supermarket chain, released their intention to install bouncy aisles in their stores. These aisles offer trampoline-type surfaces so shorter customers can easily bounce up and reach those top shelves. According to Tesco’s website statement, the upgraded shopping experience is supposed to be “both a practical and fun solution.” Of course, this upgrade was never installed, just like it was never actually invented as the joke release claimed.
What made it so successful? This prank pokes fun at a common shopping struggle with fun-filled satire. Of course, because nothing as dangerous as bouncy aisles were ever installed, nobody was hurt from this prank, and it’s doubtful anyone was particularly upset that it never became a reality.
Who said every April Fool’s promotion had to be a prank? In 2018, Google decided to take their celebration in a different direction, allowing customers to find Waldo using Google Maps. According to an online article on The Times, Google Maps users can just open the app and ask “where’s Waldo?” From there, you can scroll, pan, and zoom through a virtual scavenger hunt to find Waldo.
What made it so successful? This joke was more than a joke, it was an event! Customers could interact with the product, Google Maps, while enjoying a unique April Fool’s experience of virtual hide and seek with a beloved childhood book character. With this joke, you can be sure everyone is walking away with a smile.
We’ve already given some great tips on how to prank your employees IRL, but what about those employees who feel all safe and secure in their work from home spaces? Well, here are a few top-notch remote April Fool’s prank ideas to prove to your employees that no matter the distance, no one is safe on April Fool’s Day.
Excited to get pranking? This year, don’t rely on in-person only jokes to get laughs and likes for your business. Use online April Fool’s pranks and memes to engage with customers, surprise your employees, and make this the best April Fool’s Day for your business.
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