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Yes, April Fool’s Day Can Be a Marketing Tool

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VadimVasenin on Deposit Photos

April Fool’s day has an interesting history, but whoever had the idea to use it as a marketing tool struck gold. Every year around April 1, consumers need a healthy dose of skepticism because companies and brands will conjure up outrageous press releases and Tweets. These pranks aren’t just for fun, though, as they create buzz on social media. Critics may believe using pranks as a marketing tool is risky. Whatever you think, here are three pranks from 2021.

1. Volkswagen

The car company made headlines for announcing its rebrand to Voltswagen. In a Tweet from their official account, they said the name change references their focus on electric vehicles, especially their new SUV, the ID.4. But on Wednesday, if you searched for Voltswagen, you received a message: “Voltswagen Is Not Our Name—But Charging Is Still Our Game.”

A lot of people were upset, so the company had to release an apology. “The intention was to generate awareness of an important corporate and industry issue in the country. We regret that the announcement rollout may have upset some people,” they stated.

2. Tom Brady

It’s no joke: Opening Day for Major League Baseball’s 2021 season actually fell on April Fool’s Day. But Tom Brady Tweeted that he would be bringing back the Montreal Expos, becoming the first-ever player/coach/owner. Either way, the MLB got some good press for its opening day.

3. Duolingo

This language learning app “released” a three-ply Duolingo Roll that “turns your bathroom into a classroom.” They fully committed, actually making some rolls to give away on social media. And this isn’t the first time Duolingo has created a popular campaign for this holiday.

Not in a joking mood

Two prominent companies that didn’t use jokes as marketing tools this year are Google and Chipotle

According to Business Insider, Google’s VP of global marketing, Marvin Chow, said that they wouldn’t prank the world while it’s still dealing with the pandemic. “As you will remember, last year we made the decision to pause our longstanding Google tradition of celebrating April Fools’ Day, out of respect for all those fighting COVID-19. With much of the world still grappling with serious challenges, we feel we should again pause the jokes for April Fools’ Day this year.”

National Burrito Day fell on April Fool’s this year, so Chipotle announced a giveaway that offers players 10 chances to win either a free burrito or up to $25K in Bitcoin. People were skeptical, but the restaurant Tweeted, “We don’t joke about burritos.”

What’s your favorite April Fool’s prank by a big company?

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