What can marketers learn from the best and worst of April Fools 2023? – Affiliate Marketing Agency, Media, Training & Events

april fools, prank marketing, marketing campaigns, duolingo, peacock, tinder, la vie, askov finlayson,


Another month has come and gone, and while the rest of us wonder why we still have December’s temperatures in April, or contemplate the long march of time, marketers were busy this month. With April comes Fools. But who were the foolish ones, the marketers, or the customers? We’re looking at the best April Fools marketing campaigns of 2023 to see what we can to become a little less foolish.

Do lean into an inside joke

This was definitely the most popular choice amongst brands. Rather than poking fun at anyone or even themselves, brands more often than not exploited a joke amongst their community. This will have come about only due to the uptake in social media marketing, by the way. Brands are listening to their audiences and taking note of any fun takes, hot takes, etc.

A brand that is always a wealth of inside jokes is the capital of the dating scene: Tinder. Its own logo is an inside joke referencing the “spark” that everyone is looking for on a first date. This year, Tinder put out at campaign banning “fish pics” from the site. This is in reference to the many straight women lamenting the number of fish pics they see swiping through the app. We notice that the LGBT+ community doesn’t seem to have this issue, by the way.

In a fake press release, Tinder said it will “oh-fish-ally remove everyone’s least favourite type of photo, once and for all.”

“We are always listening to our members and it’s clear that the ubiquitous fish pic is something that needs to be addressed on our app,” said Sal Mon, head of community pictures at Tinder.

Sal Mon. Lesson #2: there is genius in simplicity.

Do poke fun in the name of awareness

Like the best memes, the best comedians, and the longest-lasting jokes, the best prank marketing says something with its humour. Such is the case with apparel company Askov Finlayson, who released North Swimwear. But rather than selling their usual thermals for the coldest climate on the planet, they’re offering a line (fake) of swimwear, in order to take advantage of the melting icecaps resulting in rising sea levels. It helps that April 1st is also the first day of Earth Month.

Do not alienate your audience

Then again, this can be a double-edged sword. The act of bringing awareness to an issue your brand believes in can alienate others, like La Vie. This plant-based brand has a core demographic of vegans. The rest of us can try the plant-based alternatives for a healthier lifestyle, but let’s face it, veganism is more about the principle of it, otherwise, why would they need plant-based bacon?

Well, La Vie changed its name to La Mort (the death in French), added a literal stuck pig on their packaging and put it all on a real meat product.

Both of those mentioned demographics are alienated there. Those of us who simply want a healthier lifestyle are likely to be put off by the inherent smugness that veganism is known for thanks to people like the Vegan Teacher. But the high horse persona of veganism has been around far longer than that viral TikTok star. Meanwhile, the vegan community isn’t likely to be happy that their favourite brand of plant-based products slaughtered pigs to make a point that’s already well-tread at best. At worst they did it to make a joke.

Maybe they didn’t. Maybe this product never hit the shelves, but the point of April Fools is to make the customer believe they did. If they got got, they’re likely to be more enraged than laughing.

Do tap into current trends

Two iconic birds got together to promote their brands. Imagine, the Duolingo mascot, Duo in a board room with the Peacock Premium mascot. What would they talk about?

The latest episode of Too Hot to Handle obviously!

And thus, the Duolingo/Peacock Premium partnership was born. The two filmed a fake trailer, showcasing the best, ahem, assets, of a fake cast of characters who were in a hotel resort looking for love: Love Language. Starring the Too Hot to Handle and Perfect Match contestant, Francesca Farago, of course. This game’s premise? None of the singles speak the same language.

We predict it will come to Peacock Premium by 2024.

Along the same lines, KFC launched a marketing campaign that blurred out all the chicken and told you to sign up for their OnlyFans to see it.

Again, genius in simplicity.

If you are interested in more affiliate and social media marketing insights, take a look at our blog for all the latest news and advice. Or for a more personalised approach, book a free call with a member of our team.

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