Real products which scored on April Fools’ Day

While each year sees tons of new fake products “launched” on April Fools’ Day, (just take a look at this year’s round up of brand gags: Brands play April Fools’ pranks) here are some brands that actually debuted or marketed real ones around the prank season.

Amazon is one clever brand to do this. A day before April Fools’ Day, the e-commerce retailer debuted Dash – a physical button that lets its customers order items with a push of a button.

Amazon’s one-click feature takes a real-form of a small plastic hardware that you can stick on walls for on-the-go shopping. Shoppers can order for more products whenever they need them.

Run out of coffee? Press the coffee button. Is your favourite detergent running out? Just hit the detergent button. Any time you need more diapers, shampoo, toothpaste or what-have-you and you find yourself too lazy to run to the store, the dash button takes care of that and ships your necessity with a push of a button.

Amazon banked so much on the product’s “wow” factor that it was confused with a prank. The product was so unheard of that netizens started to question if it was a legitimate product or just another prank from the Seattle-based e-commerce giant. The confusion was widespread, particularly on Twitterverse:

I keep waiting for someone to tell me that Amazon’s new dash buttons are an April Fools’ joke. @CNET

– Jessica Dolcourt (@jdolcourt) April 1, 2015

Amazon dash was by far the best April Fools’ this year — joshua schachter (@joshu) April 2, 2015

The launch of the product around April Fools’ Day appeared to have been marketed and timed perfectly – when consumers are more likely to check out innovative products. Spurring online buzz, albeit unintentionally or otherwise, the product gained some serious online traction. The online debate surrounding the product suggests that it’s either an incredulous or ingenious product – as Will Smith aptly chimed in:

I think the Amazon Dash is both idiotic and brilliant.

— Will Smith (@willsmith) April 1, 2015


Watch the commercial here:


Another brand eager to pick up traction on April Fools’ was MINI Cooper that launched a game on its Facebook site to market its MINI 5 – a five- door MINI launched last year.

Irene Nikkein, marketing manager of BMW Asia, said: “We want to tell consumers about the extra doors, but in a more engaging manner. So we thought up MINI DOOR-RE-MI. In this game, we used the doors of the MINI 5 Door to test your memory. MINI DOOR-RE-MI was launched just before April Fools’ Day, a time when consumers are on the lookout for tricks and pranks and are, hence, more likely to click on interesting posts!”

Rod Strother, director of digital and social centre of excellence for Lenovo Singapore, highlighted that marketing content on April Fools’ day should be about adding value for the consumers.“In cases such as this, adding value could be something as simple as putting a smile on our communities’ faces. Obviously any piece that we put out still has to feel like it’s coming from the brand regardless of the timing of the piece – in fact, if it’s for April it’s probably essential it looks like it’s coming from the brand. Otherwise no one is going to be fooled.”Strother also cautioned marketers who may have a wrong agenda in promoting their products on April Fools’ Day.

“I don’t know about using this day specifically as one to release product communication. If you’re using the rationale that people will click through to read it, then you have to assume that they are in a specific frame of mind when they do that.

“If you are not playing along with the theme of the day then it’s going to feel out of context. Tricky task though if you’re trying to get the product message over at the same time as pulling a stunt. Get it wrong and it’s got great potential to backfire.”

However, BMW did it again – successfully – when it marketed its brand new BMW 1 Series right on April Fools’ day. The marketing stunt came in the form of a generous giveaway from the car brand.

NZ Herald printed a seemingly bogus ad on the front page, inviting people to swap their car at the Newmarket for a brand new BMW 1 Series.

The first person to do so, the ad claimed, would be rewarded with the new car.

Nina Englert, managing director of BMW Group New Zealand, said: “BMW has been New Zealand’s most popular premium automotive brand for the past three years in a row, and today’s reverse joke is evidence that people are willing to throw caution to the wind in the quest for a new BMW – even on April 1.”

The BMW prize featured the personalised number plates NOF00L plus a five-year warranty. The video of the surprise giveaway has had more than one million views on YouTube.

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