It is time for the annual tradition of mischief and pranks as April Fool's Day dawns upon us. After a gruelling year that COVID-19 brought about, brands across Southeast Asia are now going full force in bringing cheers and joy through creative pranks. However, it seems that not everyone is on board with the idea. Google has reportedly said it will not be participating in this year's April Fool's Day. According to multiple media reports, Google said it will not create a series of elaborate and occasionally entertaining April Fool's pranks this year. This is the second year that Google has decided to sit out of the occasion.
That said, there were some brands who were eager to tickle consumers this year. Here are cheeky works the team at MARKETING-INTERACTIVE saw:
The condom brand unveiled an optical illusion on its Facebook page with the caption to "nod your head". Upon moving their heads up and down, viewers will realise that there is a hidden message between the lines that says "Say yes to Durex". Aimed to drive engagement and talkability, a spokesperson from Durex Malaysia told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that it wanted to arouse audiences' interest, while getting fans to tag their friends and make them nod in front of their mobile screen, agreeing and saying yes to Durex condom.
"Optical illusions are timeless. Anytime we come across an optical illusion post on Facebook or Instagram, we'd instinctively stop our daily scrolls to decipher its hidden meaning or message," the spokesperson added.
A week before April Fool's Day, Durex Singapore unveiled a new product range - condoms that comes in local flavours. Slated to be launched on 1 April, the flavours vary from Mao Shan Wang (durian), Singapore Chendol, and Botak Coconut Sherbet. In a Facebook post, the condom manufacturer called for consumers to "rediscover what it means to love local", and teased a giveaway where users who comment which flavour they are excited to try might get a sample.
Today, the brand revealed that it is indeed an April Fool's prank, but it has partnered with local ice-cream brand, Udders Ice Cream, that will allow consumers in Singapore to redeem one free scoop of ice-cream (of the mentioned flavours in its prank). The redemption will run from 2 to 3 April at its Novena outlet, and is limited to the first 100 scoops. To redeem the free ice-cream, consumers use the code "Udderly Durex" and show the staff that they have followed both Durex Singapore and Udders Ice Cream Instagram account.
Malaysia's search website iPrice Group has unveiled a new mobile application, iPetite, aimed to help consumers find the best items for their pets. Targeted at the expanding pet care industry, iPrice said its app includes the latest features of voice recognition that enables consumers’ pets to communicate the products they want with their owners. With this ground-breaking technology, iPrice said it aims to be Southeast Asia’s best online shopping companion, even to the region’s furry friends. Although it was just an April Fool's prank, iPrice even created mock-ups of marketing assets for iPetite.
In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, iPrice's spokesperson said idea came after the company had an internal competition between teams to propose the best ideas for April Fool's Day. Among many interesting ideas that were proposed, the team decided to go with iPetite as it is closer to iPrice core values, mission and expertise as an eCommerce aggregator, the spokesperson added. Other ideas the company had include a Nintendo game giveaway with every purchase, as well as Jack Ma and Elon Musk seeing huge potential in iPrice.
The tyre manufacturer joined the April Fool's fun by unveiling its new product: tyres designed to tackle any terrain for a safe journey, including water. Michelin Malaysia promoted the "new tyres" through a Facebook post, alongside a short clip that shows a car driving on water. In the caption, it is added that Michelin's new product was developed in Michelin's top-secret lab.
Hair cosmetics brand Mise-en-scène also seemingly launched a new product this April Fool's Day. It introduced its most vibrant colour yet: the Hello Bubble Unicorn Colour. The hair dye touts to change your hair into colours of the rainbow. "It’s perfect for those feeling indecisive on what hair colour to choose from or looking to express themselves in a unique and magical way," the brand said, adding that it will only be available on 1 April. A spokesperson from Mise-en-scène has since confirmed to MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that it is a prank.
Pizza Hut Malaysia
Pizza Hut Malaysia teased its "hottest delivery" in a Facebook post, with a picture of its pizza boxes flying out of a red Ferrari car. Without revealing much other information, the post is accompanied with the caption that encouraged users to place their order via Pizza Hut's website or app "to experience it". Although the jury is still out on whether it is a April Fool's prank, netizens were quick to assume that it is one, with many of them asking if it is a joke, and one encapsulating the feelings of most Malaysians who saw the ad: "Don't lie laa Pizza Hut".
In an Instagram post, PropertyGuru Singapore said it has introduced new features on its app. These include "spirit sense", a feature that can filter out homes that had reports of hauntings or other-worldly entanglements; "noise alert", a feature that shows if the unit has noisy neighbours; as well as "furry neighbours", a feature that filter units with the most pets in the same block. However, at the end of the post, PropertyGuru revealed that it is all an April Fool's prank, and asked if viewers fell for it.
Shopee has unveiled its latest offering, ShopeeTea by Shopee, this 1 April. In a press release, Shopee said since many users are flocking to its platform for bubble tea deals, the eCommerce platform has decided to start its own bubble tea chain. ShopeeTea will be unveiling two local flavours, Durian x Carrot and Mala Xiang Guo. This mixes all local favourites into a cup, the company said.
Leveraging on its "Eat Fresh" slogan, the brand, together with VaynerMedia Asia Pacific, created the Super Fresh Daily Face Wash as an April Fool's Day gimmick featuring seven ingredients such as tomato, lettuce, onion, cucumber, green pepper, cheese, and sweet corn.
In a Facebook post, the brand said the seven face wash options were made for each day of the week and created using extracts from the freshest sub ingredients. "So you can pick and choose your daily faves to refresh your skin everyday," Subway added.
The Body Shop Indonesia
Cosmetic shop The Body Shop has also jumped on the April Fool's bandwagon with a special edition product: Durian Body Butter. Claiming to contain durian extract from North Sumatra, the company even listed out the benefits of including durian in its body butter, such as how it would help skin regeneration and prevent premature aging, as well as provide moisture and softness for up to 72 hours.
Globally, Volkswagen reportedly said it will be rebranding its US division to "Voltswagen of America". According to CNBC, the initial draft said the name change is "a public declaration of the company’s future-forward investment in e-mobility", adding that Voltswagen will be reflected as an exterior badge on all EV models.
While it later turned out to be a April Fool's prank, as well as a marketing ploy for its new all-electric ID.4 SUV, Volkswagen's prank drew online chatter over the past few days and even saw an increase of its shares. Its press release was also left online just long enough for netizens and media outlets including Reuters, CNBC, ABC News and USA Today to pick up on it, before being deleted.
Similar to iPrice Group, the team at YouTrip also looked to infiltrate the pet care industry by launching its first pet mobile wallet that allows its furry users to pay for toys with their treats. According to a blog post by the company, the new wallet "YouTrip for Pets" supports over 150 pet treat brands and have no conversion fees. Pets will be able to exchange their treats for toys, which YouTrip added that it will teach pets the valuable skill of taking care of their toys instead of ruining them in the next minute.
While YouTrip is not actually creating an app for pets, the company said it wanted to use this opportunity to bring users' attention to the local non-profit pet societies. These include Cat Welfare Society and Causes For Animals, which have been rescuing, rehabilitating, sterilising and re-homing as many strays and abandoned pets as they can. "We've introduced this special April Fool's initiative to raise awareness for these non-profit pet societies and their efforts. As a "launch" exclusive, every YouTrip user that registers their interest for YouTrip For Pets will be eligible for 50% cashback when they donate to either Cat Welfare Society or Causes For Animals Singapore.
Meanwhile, on the agency side, social media agency 8traordinary has decided to join in the fun with its own April Fool's post. Creating an encrypted artwork, the agency looks to send a message to its audiences. The post is accompanied with the caption "close one eye, tilt your phone and look from the charger hole".
MARKETING-INTERACTIVE's Content 360 Week is back from 6 to 8 April this year! Super charge your content production, distribution and monetisation strategies by learning from brands such as NBA Asia, P&G, Malaysia Airlines, and Marriott International, among others. Sign up today!
(Photo courtesy: 123RF)
Subway MY puts April Fool's twist to 'Eat Fresh' slogan by creating daily face wash
'Voltswagen' rebranding an April Fool's stunt, says VW after furore
Durex SG ups flavoured condom portfolio with durian and chendol ahead of April Fool's
Local snack brand Crusty's unveils new Tiger Balm-inspired packaging ahead of April Fool's
Brands spread April Fools' cheer: Did you fall for it?