For one day a year, companies drop the corporate and have a little fun – keeping customers on their toes, and maybe even attracting a few new ones with a well-placed sense of humour. Here’s our round-up for this year’s April Fools’ – though, sadly, there’s a few that, though valiant efforts, didn’t think made the grade.
1. Google Maps ‘Pac’ a punch
We loved the Pac Man filter devised for Maps, allowing you to guide the cult yellow ball through familiar surroundings – a sort of real life version of the upcoming Pixels film. The search giant are renowned for running with April Fools’, but while many ideas were clever (like the ‘digital mailbox’ that zaps junk mailers and alerts you to post), some clearly ran out of steam (Google Japanese’s letter-guessing party blowers, anyone?).
2. The RNIB lets the cat out of the bag
It’s usually dogs that spring to mind when we think of aid for the partially sighted, but the RNIB have other ideas – our feline friends, as part of a programme called ‘CATNAV’. A source stated there were still ‘‘teething issues’’, but that ”on the days where my cat actually wants to go to the same place I do, then the system works absolutely brilliantly”.
3. Ted Baker achieves an awesome ‘feet’
The single prank that made us double-check the date – and almost rush to get a blog out – was the fashion brand’s app-controlled heels – where a single swipe could raise or lower their height. Clever, innovative and probably possible.
4. Cambridge University hit the right note
The education sector has had a field day with April Fools – like the announcement that Leicester University was changing their name to ‘King Richard University’, or that Queen’s University Belfast was hosting auditions for a Harry Potter prequel. Despite its clever credentials, Cambridge University chose a more simple form of trolling: claiming a door lock had been upgraded with voice activation. The devilish professor responsible simply planted a note, then waited for the chaos to unfold. Genius.
5. The London Eye floats an idea
One of London’s biggest tourist attractions jumped on the prank bandwagon yesterday, claiming they were introducing zero-gravity in the capsules of the London Eye as part of a collaboration with the (fictional) British Space Research Programme. A shame it’s not a genuine suggestion – we think it could really take off.
1. CERN force out an April Fool
The nuclear research body joined in with the day’s japes by claiming that the force was discovered by ‘theorist Ben Kenobi’ in an article that did Star Wars references to death. We found it to be a good, somewhat over-egged, attempt (it raised more eyebrows than smiles at our end), though it does help dispel the straight-faced scientist stereotype.
2. Valspar paint the town tartan
With an explanation as vague as ‘’disperse[s] [paint] to specific areas where it’s required’’, surely no-one got suckered in by Valspar’s spoof tartan paint roller set?
3. Netflix want YOU to get off the sofa
To honour the holiday, the subscription movie company introduced a fake ‘’Binge Responsibly’’ campaign, which flashed on-screen ‘health warnings’ after several hours of streaming programs. But, with advice like ‘go outside’, ‘eat real food’ and ‘walk the dog’, we couldn’t help feeling that there was some truth in them.
4. T-Mobile come up with a wild idea
Putting pets on the family plan was the thinking behind T-Mobile’s dalliance into the world of April Fools’, with a well put-together video that shows cats swiping at Tindr, retrievers texting at the dinner table and horses watching questionable nature footage. While bang on for the brand, it just missed out on our hit–list for believability.
5. Santander take customers for a ride
In a prank better suited to Barclays (the sponsors of Boris bikes), Santander’s effort at an April Fools’ prank was ‘cycle thru’ banks. Our verdict? A confused ‘why?’.