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#ConsumerCorner: Our top pick of brands' April Fools' Day stunts

April Fools'
Consumer Industries
Consumer Campaigns & B2B

April 1st looms and with it a slew of potential pranks and ruses. In recent years, brands have started using Aprils Fools' Day as a way of stretching their creative muscles and showing what they would and could do if risk, public opinion, offending people and profits weren’t important…!  

April Fools' Day’s exact origins remain a mystery although there are many theories. Some believe it was first mentioned in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales in 1392 whilst others say it was first brought about in the Middle Ages when New Year’s Day was celebrated on 25th March with a holiday that ended on 1st April.  

However it started, we certainly embrace it now. Read on as our consumer industries experts list their favourite yearly gags from brands.   

Beth Colmer 
BBC iPlayer shows world’s first flying penguins 

One of the original April Fools by a brand, back in 2008 BBC iPlayer released a trailer for a documentary called “Miracles of Evolution” depicting a colony of Adélie penguins suddenly taking to the skies as the astonished presenter, ex-Monty Python star Terry Jones, looked on. The "miracle penguins" were featured on the front page of The Daily Mirror, which quoted the filmmaker, Prof. Alid Loyas (an anagram for "April Fools' Day"), saying: "We could hardly believe our eyes. It's the perfect example of Darwin's theory of evolution working in reverse." The Daily Telegraph also announced that the BBC had "remarkable footage of penguins flying as part of its new natural history series, Miracles of Evolution”. The highly convincing spoof was the result of months of planning and two rival papers working together with the BBC (something we’re not sure they could pull off now!) to fool the nation.  

Naz Zandi
Tinder's height verification badge 

In 2019, Tinder's April Fools' campaign tricked its users by announcing a new feature, a ‘height verification badge’. “It’s come to our attention that most of you 5’10ers out there are actually 5’6. The charade must stop. Did it ever occur to you that we’re 5’6 and actually love our medium height? Did it ever occur to you that honesty is what separates humans from sinister monsters? Of course not.” - Tinder’s press statement. Users were instructed to post a picture of themselves in front of a building, which Tinder promised to then calculate their actual height and receive a verification badge in return. A lot of people fell for it, and some were outraged that they now had to verify their height! 

Ciara McCrory
Faustino Futura

Wine brand, Faustino, announced the launch of ‘Faustino Futura’ for a clever April Fools' gag. The new wine was powered by AI and included a vibe check feature that would only open if the vibe was right. The smart wine bottle also purportedly included a Whiner to Diner feature that feeds the user conversation starters to use at dinner parties to make the drinker appear more fun than they are. Perhaps most valuably to this ageing millennial, the bottle had a built-in Gen Z translator that gives you the right jargon to converse with the younger generation.  

Fi Todd
Starbucks becomes Pupbucks 

As an avid lover of both dogs and Starbucks, one of my favourite April Fools' Day stunts has to be Starbucks’ concept store launch – Pupbucks – that was announced on 1st April 2019. The new store was launched exclusively for our four-legged friends and Starbucks was “proud to introduce a new breed of stores”.   

The coffee giant told the world about the new store via an adorable video on Twitter of puppies having fun with pup latte toys and even toy bagels. Many people seemed to be genuinely disappointed when they found out that Pupbucks was no more than a light-hearted prank – I know I certainly was!  

Harry Membrey 
Tunnocks and Iron Bru makes football kits 

In the spirit of this year’s Euro 2024, let’s take it back to April Fools' Day 2021 which built on all of the Euro’s excitement from that year. Tunnocks and Iron Bru announced what appeared to be the new Scottish football kit design, evoking both brands’ logos and colours. Modelled by team captain Andy Robertson, Scotland fans (whether they fell for the gag or not!) were desperate to get their hands on the new strip. Sparking the interest of fans, it was a great way for the two brands to show support for the team and show off their sense of humour.