Holiday Marketing

Got Ya! Fun Online April Fool’s Pranks and Memes for Work

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. 

How to Market with Memes

Laws of the Memes

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. 

How to Make Your Own April Fools Memes

  1. Create a Concept: First step is figuring out what joke you’re looking to tell. Not sure how to access that funny bone? Here’s our blog post all about how to be funny in marketing. For this exercise, I’m going to tell a joke about working from home on April Fool’s Day.
  1. Find a Meme Maker: Next, find yourself a meme maker. Of course, if you’re great with photoshop and other editing software, you can do this all yourself. But for the rest of us rookies, there are lots of free meme makers available online.
  1. Get Common Use Stock Art (Or Make Your Own!): Finding good pictures doesn’t have to be hard. Either snap a few of your own or browse free stock art sites like Unsplash, Pixabay, etc. Sites like these offer a wide variety of images with no copyrights attached, which means they can be used for marketing.
  1. Create and Share: Here’s the fun part! Put your creation together and post it anywhere you want. Because this meme is all your own made with non-copyright materials, you’re legally in the clear to post. Here’s our homemade meme to help you get giggle inspired.

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. 

Successful Business Pranks You Can Learn From

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. 

A Pretend Product

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. 

A Never-Released Upgrade

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. 

An Interactive Joke

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. 

Online April Fools Pranks for Remote Workers

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. 

  • A Teachable Moment: Ever get one of those fake malware emails from your IT team? Many companies send fake hacker or scam emails to employees to teach them about the dangers of opening out-of-network emails. But what if you made one of these emails into a prank? Make a really convincing (yet fake) email sent from a non-company email. Employees who trip up and click on the “bad” email link can earn both some extra cyber-security training and a fun virtual April Fool’s Day card.
  • A Double-Fake: Sometimes it pays to be the gullible one! For April Fool’s Day, send out a virtual gift card for free donuts or another tasty treat. Of course, the ones looking out for virtual April Fool’s pranks won’t touch it, so they’ll be extra surprised the next day when you send a follow-up email informing them it’s a real gift! The gullible ones will get their treat a day early, and normally April 1st-wary ones will be ones getting fooled.
  • Zoom Background Surprises: Employees should be extra wary when it comes to meetings on April Fool’s Day! A great way to pull a prank virtually is to put a little something in your Zoom background. Whether it’s a family member pulling faces in the background, swapping places with your cat, or a special virtual background made to look like spiders are running across your wall, getting creative with Zoom offers lots of great prank opportunities.
  • Silly Filters: Leaving a cat face filter on Zoom instead of your normal face isn’t something that should only ever happen by accident. Get all of the company executives and managers to host meetings only with silly filters on for April Fool’s Day. This way, employees can have a good laugh and managers can show off their silly side.
  • The Gift That Keeps on Giving: If you have a small virtual team and lots of time on your hands, you can get serious with this prank package. Take a small gift, a treat or a promotional pen, then put it in a box with a card. Then put that box in another box. Keep layering boxes for as long as you have time and boxes, then ship that to your virtual employees. They’ll have a good laugh as they carve through box after box and also enjoy the nice surprise at the end.

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.

Katie Yelisetti

From marketing tips to product recommendations, I’m here to help small businesses be their best.

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