Top 5 April Fools’ PR Stunts

April Fools’ Day PR stunts. Some might say they’re like Marmite and here at Smoking Gun, we have a pretty divided opinion within the team on whether they’re fortuitous for brands or simply a waste of time. To help us decide, we’ve decided to do a quick round up of the top 5 April Fools’ stunts from 2017.  

To add to the suspense of our review, we’ll be revealing our top stunts in rank order.

5. In at number five, we have a rather morbid entry from Funeral Booker with the UK’s first ever DIY cremation system. The #CremMate campaign led with the angle that after a surge in popularity for home births, Funeral Booker wanted to bring the public’s desire to have significant life events closer to home with a DIY home cremation unit. The stunt was complete with a mocked up home cremation photo and dedicated webpage to support the story, as well as social media promotion on Twitter to announce the new product launch.

What we loved. As the topic of death and funerals is a sensitive one for many, we love that Funeral Booker has brought a sense of lightheartedness to a somewhat sombre topic, making the brand appear fun, creative and giving followers something to talk about.What worked? The stunt helped to ignite conversation about the spiralling cost of funerals and funeral wishes amongst family members.

Funeral Booker

4. At number four we have the “New Sub Zero” from Subway UK & Ireland which launched all of the nation’s favourite Subway fillings in an ice cream cone. The campaign was particularly timely with the sunnier weather the UK has been experiencing over the last two weeks, making the launch of the new range seem fitting and most importantly, more believable.

What we loved. Often, brands seek to introduce completely new products on April Fools’ Day, so it was a great way to see the cross-promotion of existing products weaved into an April Fools’ Day stunt.

What worked? The campaign was complete with a vox pop video shared on Twitter of consumers taste testing the new range, which reinforced the authenticity of the campaign. The #SUBzero video was well received by Twitter users, with multiple interactions and many comments from consumers sharing what their desired flavour would be.

Subway

3. Ranking in third place was The Sun with the story of Poundland to be relaunched as £1.19 Land. The prank led with a lengthy, fake quote from a Poundland representative, with statistics dispersed throughout the article, and was a great way to create impact.

What we loved. It was the week that Article 50 was triggered by Theresa May and, for some reluctant Brexiters, this action came hand-in-hand with fears around the downward spiral of the economy and increased cost of living. Therefore, changing the name of everyone’s favourite pound store due to pressures from the economy, was in fact all just a little too believable, and for this reason we LOVED this stunt.

What worked? This stunt was short and simple, with a hint at the end of the article subtly revealing that this was in fact an April Fools’ Day prank. Revealing this within a quote from the Trading Director of Poundland helped to round off the stunt and made it clear to readers not to panic: Poundland would not be increasing their prices.

Poundland

2. In  second place, Dominoes must be commended for their invention of the first ever heated letterbox. The “Door-minoes” invention aimed to make ordering a pizza takeaway just that little more convenient for shoppers, and subliminally reinforced their home delivery service.

What we loved. The heated letterbox included interactive features, such as an animal repellent to stop pesky pets from eating your dinner, as well as mocking a new category of customers: those who don’t like answering the door.

What worked? As the likes of Uber Eats and Deliveroo have dominated the headlines over the last year, it’s essential now, more than ever before, that takeaway brands such as Dominoes stay at the forefront of our minds. Therefore this canny little invention was a great way to grab headlines, receiving coverage in media titles such as The Daily Express and The Sun.

1. Topping the SGPR April Fools’ Day roundup is BBC Three with the latest David Attenborough documentary named: ‘David Attenborough, Life of Grime.” The documentary looked set to explore the niche topic of grime music and this unlikely pairing was not only ingenious, but a great way to keep David Attenborough’s documentaries in the media in the absence of a current, live series.

What we loved. This stunt not only captured the media’s attention, but also that of rap artist Stormzy, who was so enraged by the latest BBC Three documentary that he took to Twitter to “troll” the latest announcement to his 659K fans.

What worked? The use of a superimposed image of Sir David Attenborough alongside Stormzy helped attract further media attention by hijacking Stormzy fans to generate wider attention, and was a great way of igniting a discussion on social media.

Stormzy