Written by Emma Ilaria, Account Manager at We Are Social NY
Let’s kick off on March 31st, when we were blessed with thankfully NOT AN APRIL FOOLS’ but a new single from Harry Styles. Giving my brain just the right amount of serotonin it needed to write this recap.
No one exactly knows when April Fools’ started. In an article from NPR, some historians have dated it back to Ancient Rome and the festival of “Hilaria,” where people would come together to learn the pronunciation of “cucumber.”
Wait, no, actually… It was a festival to commemorate the resurrection of the god Attis, and people would dress up in disguises and imitate each other. There is also a reference to the term “poisson d’avril” found in a 1508 poem written by Eloy d’Amerval. “April Fish” were more plentiful in the spring and easier to catch. Sticking a paper “April Fish” to someone’s back was also a popular prank.
Fast forward to our new reality of brands on social media desperately trying to get us into the comment section. According to Vox, the first report of brands getting “involved” in April Fools’ was in 2009. This trend isn’t inherently bad, it can just be a tad cringe. But it’s an easy way for social media managers to fill the content calendar with an engagement pop. Or maybe even getting wrapped up in a Buzzfeed “April Fools’ Jokes that have us GAGGING” type of article.
Where are these pranks mostly held? It seems Instagram took the cake this year. The platform lends itself pretty seamlessly to a static image “joke joke joke” format. Brands were also utilizing the newer “Collab” feature on Instagram.
The theme of this year’s April Fools’ would be “good, clean, fun”. Nothing too trauma-inducing (like when my dad texted my family from a hike that he broke both of his legs and was in a hospital in rural PA). It’s been a hard few years, and we’re all a lot more cynical and tired, as this Tweet pointed out. A lot of brands even took a break from April Fools’ posts in the last two years. While many are now back, we’re seeing brands lean into the lighthearted type of content this year, like fake food products that had users wishing were real.
So let’s dive in…
We love a good collab, and food-themed April Fools’ posts are always a favorite. Here’s a Hidden Valley Ranch-flavored Burt’s Bees Chapstick.
Oreo & Heinz came together for the perfect, just-gross-enough collab that had most comments begging for it.
MY AIRPORT SNACKS UNITE
Tiffany & Co. released their own cryptocurrency called TiffCoin. But joke’s on us, because you could actually purchase a TiffCoin: 499 were released for 24 hours. The company said on its Instagram “This coin will give holders access to future Tiffany happenings.” Whatever that means!
Duolingo is so good at social media it almost feels unfair to even put them in. Please, just go watch it.
NOT EXACTLY A BRAND – BUT THEY WOULD
Governor Murphy released a statement on his Twitter that the New Jersey state bird would officially be changed from the American Goldfinch to the middle finger.
BREAKING: I just signed an Executive Order changing the New Jersey State Bird to the Middle Finger. 🖕 pic.twitter.com/TKDYLFC3SF
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) April 1, 2022
FAKE PRODUCT ROUND-UP
Krispy Kreme announced a L’Original Parfum by Krispy Kreme. Smash.
Sun-Maid, which has a more humorous brand than I realized, came out with a “Grape Jerky.” They had multiple videos and posts supporting this joke.
Say what you want about April Fools’ but it does work. Almost every brand featured here had a pop in likes and comments, and there are tons of articles and local news stories rounding up the best and worst ones. Would love to see brands push the envelope a bit further next year, but for now, let’s all dream about a Krispy Kreme perfume.