April Fools’ 2014: The best in brand pranks

A roundup of how brands are trying to pull the wool over our eyes

The internet is awash with hoaxes at the hands of brand marketers looking to get in on the fun. Here’s a roundup of how brands are trying to pull the wool over our eyes in honour of April Fools’ Day.

Smart glove love

Somehow Samsung, HTC and Toshiba all turned up this morning with a single idea: a smart glove. HTC calls its the Gluuv, while Samsung went with Samsung Fingers (in Canada, it also joked it was adding a rotary phone to its Galaxy lineup) and Toshiba branded its the Toshiba Digit. Toshiba’s best feature? Hold hands to change status to “in a relationship.” HTC’s: charging your boom box (k, lol) by carrying it with the Gluuv. And Samsung Fingers? The classic “Pull My Finger” Flatulence Auditory Reproduction.

Smart Kicks

Wearables were the go-to in brand pranks this year, with Virgin Mobile Canada also inventing a smart shoe. Called SmartKicks, the shoes come in men’s (Smart Sneak) and women’s (Smartletto) and are an “almost-believable” concept with the Wizard of Oz-ish ability to, “call home with the click of your heels”

Fido ditches dogs

We’ve yet to confirm this one’s a prank, but we’re pretty sure Fido is pulling our hind legs when it says it’s abandoning its furry canine friends in favour of a new brand ambassador: the cat.

“Dogs have been the face of Fido for the past 18 years and we see this change as a reflection of our customers’ growing passion for the Internet. We are consistently listening to the wants and interests of our customers, and what they want are cats,” said Shelagh Stoneham, Fido’s senior vice-president and brand manager, in the prank release.

Sure, cats are the internet’s overlords (and we like the mock Yes We Cat billboard) but face it Fido, you’re just Dog People.

West Jet switches to metric time

Instead of a.m. / p.m., West Jet says its now going by “metric time” and offered customers a simple equation to figure out what time to catch their flight: (HR x 60) + MIN = X / 1.44 = New metric flight time (in milliminutes). Of course, right under that is another, more useful code (metric time doesn’t exist, guys).

Using the promo LOL12 (get it?), consumers can save 20% on West Jet flights to Canadian, U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean.

Boston Pizza invents “reverse delivery”

Dial your local Boston Pizza number in reverse, and the restaurant will deliver guests instead of pizzas, according to a press release sent to Marketing this morning. “Many Canadians need a place to go to meet up with friends and watch the big game, but they don’t always have a way of getting there,” explained Perry Schwartz, director of communications, Boston Pizza International. “As Canada’s largest casual dining chain, we realized that it’s up to us to reverse this disturbing trend.”

The Nenshi News

Click to enlarge

Like brands, the media has fallen for the allure of April Fools. The front page of the Calgary Sun this morning reads: NENSHI BUYS SUN. As the paper’s corresponding editorial, “by” Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi explains, “With a little help from some well-heeled cycling enthusiasts and public art supporters, I have been able to purchase the Calgary Sun from its owner.”

The prank wasn’t enough to please Sun readers, with most of the top comments raking the paper over the coals. A sample: “A good April Fool’s joke at least has an air of believability. This one misses the mark by a wide margin.”

Have you spotted good brand gags? Share them in the comment section below.

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