April Fools’ Day is always a tempting target for advertisers. It’s a rare creative opportunity, a chance to step out of pattern—and it’s also a clear shot at brand virality. Hard for marketers to resist (in most years).
Last year, everyone punted. Nothing was funny a year ago.
This year, a lot of people still weren’t quite ready; 54% of Americans thought April Fools’ should stay canceled. So 2021 didn’t see quite as many pranks as other years past, but some advertisers were willing to give it a shot.
To cover a few of this year’s stunts…
This one’s getting the most press, but the reactions are mixed to negative. There was nothing especially funny about it on its face—and VW went to such lengths to make it seem real that, well, everyone reported it that way. In fact, VW might land in hot water with the SEC for misleading investors. (A lot of money moved around after the Voltswagen announcement because it seemed like a clear and serious signal to the market.)
😸 Cartoon Network’s Feline Takeover
Or, as they called it yesterday, the Cat-toon Network. It was a partnership with the American Pet Products Association (APPA) because cats recently overtook dogs as the most populous pets in America. You can see the Cat-toon Network’s list of series in development here (it’s a bunch of TV puns).
🕯 The Farmer’s Dog No. 2 Candle
They’re a premium dog-food brand and this is a poop-scented candle. We really appreciate the product page for its copy, product photography, and the fact that they included a price and “Add to Cart” button.
💋 Delicious Dermatology
You get three examples here, all shamelessly silly (if anyone believes these are real, it’s their own damn fault).
Ipsy’s Face Mask with Jif Peanut Butter. What might actually be useful is a peanut-butter hair mask for getting chewing gum out.
Velveeta Skincare. With the tagline Melty Moisturization. We’re afraid to laugh because the vomit might escape.
Outback Lipsteak. Excuse us for a minute. 🤢
🐥 Faux Food Funnies
Honestly, food products are some of the best April Fools’ candidates because (A) they’re way less likely to offend and (B) the line between “they’re kidding” and “oh wait, they’re not kidding” was already blurry.
REAL: Peeps-Flavored Pepsi (Peepsi?)
🚽 PooPourri Doo Desk
We bet a bunch of “throners” are sad that this isn’t real. Especially because the leg hammock actually seems like a decent idea.