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5 of the best April Fool’s Day campaigns

1st April represents a perennial opportunity, but also banana skin, for many enterprising businesses. While few firms want to give the impression of lacking a sense of humour that can arise from not getting involved at all, even fewer wish to risk their hard-won reputation on a gag that backfires.

But then again, a well-judged and genuinely amusing April’s Fool Day prank can also bring great rewards in terms of heightened profile, image and sales, so it’s unsurprising that this year’s April 1st was another busy one for companies around the UK. Here were just five of the best.

1. Strips to aid naked selfies

In the Kim Kardashian age, the craze for revealing selfies is showing little sign of relenting, so it was good timing on the part of global e-commerce marketplace Groupon to start offering lightweight, durable and versatile ‘Starkers Strips’ for just £14.99 per pair.

As the informative product page reveals, Starkers Strips are the ultimate “naked selfie aid”, enabling non-attired self-snappers to hide their modesty much more easily than if they were forced to depend on “pot plants, fruit and veg or the family cat”.

However, the Starkers Strips campaign wasn’t just for show – those who clicked the accompanying ‘Buy’ link were presented with a 15% off promo code, reflecting Groupon’s claim that “we do really like taking things off”.

 

2. The debut of #manpons

An excellent example of how April Fool’s Day can be used in a comical manner to make an albeit meaningful point is the #manpons campaign by WaterAid, which told men not to “let your flow dictate your fashion”.

Supported by a promotional video parodying the deliberately ‘macho’ nature of male-centred advertising, the #manpons ‘product page’ declared: “When it comes to periods, you deserve the best a man can get: a turbo-charged tampon that lets you be the lad you were born to be.”

Befittingly, after admitting the hoax, WaterAid alerted visitors to the very serious matter of 1.25 billion women lacking access to a toilet during their period, before directing them to a petition to sign.

 

3. Professor Green gets a name change

Rapper Professor Green not only isn’t a real professor, but also didn’t genuinely change his name to Professor Green Tea, even if his Twitter-announced ‘partnership’ with tea company PG Tips seemed a potentially lucrative one – the artist even being pictured holding a box of PG Tips ‘Professor Green Tea’.

In the words of the PG Tips press release, “While the nature of the deal is still under wraps, the partnership looks set to include the change to his stage name as well as on-pack promotion.”

 

4. Goggles for finding the best money off deals

As popular as online voucher sites are in 2016, there are always some people who prefer to discover deals as they shop on the high street, so it surely makes a lot of sense to combine the online and offline aspects of discount-hunting via the nascent virtual reality (VR) craze.

This year’s April Fool’s Day has seen no shortage of VR-themed pranks, from Google’s unveiling of what it called “the world’s first actual reality headset”, the Cardboard Plastic, to Hotels.com’s launch of Test Before You Rest, which promised customers the ability to download and virtually view a hotel room before they booked the real thing.

Beating even the market-leading VR headsets at their own game, however, are the new VoucherReality goggles by leading online voucher site MyVoucherCodes, which make scouting around for a bargain in the UK’s brick-and-mortar shops quicker, easier and surely more stylish than ever before.

 

 

5. Loaves for pizza lovers

It seems that more and more these days, even the most familiar brands are crossing over from the formats with which they made their name, into new and exciting product categories. Such is the case with Pizza Hut UK, which piled on the wordplay in its launch of “three innovative, pizza-inspired loaves… bringing the brand’s much-loved ‘dough-how’ to kitchen cupboards across the nation.”

The restaurant chain said that it had been subjected to a “‘doughverload’ of requests from Pizza Hut customers hoping to enjoy the brand’s popular flavours in more formats”, and had subsequently decided to offer loaves in three varieties.

The three options available to prospective buyers were Stuffed Crust Meat Feast, Classic Crust Pepperoni Feast and Gluten Free Vegetable Supreme. It meant that whether customers were most in the mood for “a garlic and herb crust and meaty flavour”, “a light, open texture and a hint of pepperoni” or instead a “gluten-free option… packed full of fresh spinach, sweetcorn, mixed peppers, red onion and mushrooms”, they would have been well catered-for if the promotion had been real.

As ever, the variety of April Fool’s Day campaigns this year showed the ingenuity of businesses across the UK seeking to seize upon this invaluable marketing opportunity to make maximum impact – more than a few of them raising a chuckle while also providing real ‘food for thought’.