Perhaps the Spring sunshine that many of us have been enjoying of late has brought with it a lightening of mood. Or, perhaps a little carefree pranking is just the antidote needed to lift the spirits of the nation amidst the otherwise relentlessly gloomy media headlines dominated for months by political wrangling and terrorist attacks.
Whatever the reasons, this year seems to have generated a much larger number than usual of April Fool’s Day hoaxes.
Once an attempt by brave brands to grab hard-fought-for print headlines, the (in)famous PR tactic has of course taken a step into the digital world over recent years, with many of this year’s campaigns clearly targeting social shares. The ease that social media brings to broadcasting this kind of content and generating likes and shares is certainly a key factor in the success of a good April Fool’s stunt today. But, media aside, there were several creative campaigns over the weekend worthy of generating that all-important audience engagement.
Multiple brands, media houses and even celebrities stepped into the fray this year, some of them splashing the cash in an effort to woo consumers with an injection of brand personality.
It was certainly a breath of fresh air to see that this light-hearted Spring tradition is alive and well in the UK media and for us to enjoy the spike in creativity behind some of the most eye-catching, talked-about campaigns. Here are of some our favourites from the weekend:
- Prince Harry’s ‘secret’ wedding
Playing it perfectly for their readership of royal fans, The Daily Mail attempted to fool readers by exposing Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s supposedly secret $300 wedding in Las Vegas. Good to see one of the UK’s national newspapers joining the fun.
- Formula 1’s anti-clockwise race
Silverstone enlisted a number of motorsports’ elite to create a well-produced video claiming that drivers will race anti-clockwise in this summer’s British Grand Prix. David Coulthard and Jason Plato, were among those in on the joke and commenting on the new ‘challenge’. A clever and engaging creative that evoked widespread social views and shares.
- Ancient duck carving discovered by scientists
The National Trust announced that an ancient carving of a duck had been discovered by rangers close to the world famous White Horse of Uffington. A strong visual element and link to a piece of our national heritage was a stand-out combination.
- David Attenborough: Life of Grime
The BBC also decided to get in on the April Fool’s action by promoting a new BBC Three documentary in which Sir David Attenborough investigates grime music. Artists in the grime scene, like Stormzy, were said to have believed the hoax and contacted the BBC. Clever use of the broadcast, social and news channels available, combined with a great British icon.