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April Fools' Day Is Back, But Still Restrained By Pandemic

by Rudy Sanchez on 04/02/2021 | 4 Minute Read

April Fool’s Day is a celebration when even the most stickler of brand management and marketing teams let loose a bit and have some fun with fake product announcements and press releases full of bat-boy sensationalism and Easter eggs. The internet has made the annual day of tomfoolery bigger and broader to a level where some call April 1st “don’t trust anything on the internet day.”

In 2020, the day fell at a pretty severe and dire point of the COVID outbreak, and we collectively took the year off, as we would with many annual events. The pandemic still looms large, so some brands like Google and Adobe continued to sit out the holiday, and T-Mobile flipped the script with its “Give Thanks Not Pranks” campaign supporting schools and students.

As we start to close in on the end of the pandemic, some brands are now going back to the tradition with pranks on April 1st. It’s not a 100% return to form this April Fool’s Day, but then again, the world isn’t fully back either. So while there are fewer pranks this year, here are some of the most noteworthy from 2021. 

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Kobo Papier

Avid readers of physical books know the rich smell of paper and ink. Whether it’s a crisp new book or a well-worn volume, a book’s scent can add to the overall experience of reading. E-readers have a lot going for them but can’t yet recreate the smell of dead-tree tomes. Fortunately, device maker and book marketplace Kobo has announced Kobo Papier, a perfume designed for bookworms.

So, yeah, get to spraying that all over your Kindle.

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The Farmer’s Dog Candle No. 2

For dog owners with well-trained pooches, the smell of freshly dropped dog dookie on the carpet may prove elusive. That is, until today. Kibble purveyors The Farmer’s Dog debuted the No. 2 candle, made with “well-digested USDA-certified meat” and “vacated vegetables,” which they say induces “heady states of clarity, movement, and ultimately, sweet relief.”

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Bud Light Seltzer Pizza

Spiked Seltzer took off in a big way, and there’s no end to the flavors available today. Bud Light, seeing a glaringly obvious gap in the market,  announced a line of savory seltzers inspired by classic pizza toppings, like pepperoni, extra cheese, veggies, and anchovies. That might be the greatest thing to happen to pizza since someone slowed down the "Gimmie Pizza" song.

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Cauliflower PEEPS

Seeing Cauliflower get utilized to make everything from pizza to tots, Easter staple PEEPS teamed up with veggie brand Green Giant to create Cauliflower-flavored PEEPS. The innovation in candy concoctions is sure to give black licorice a run for its money this spring, with kids clamoring for the veggie marshmallow mashup.

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V by Velveeta

Food and Beauty collabs aren’t new, but melty cheese brand Velveeta is taking cheese to a new level with a skincare line based on the brand’s signature pasteurized prepared cheese product. V by Velveeta promises melty moisturizing and a feeling of bliss. And let’s be honest, nacho cheese on your face is probably safer than half the stuff Gwyneth Paltrow hocks on her blog.

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Duolingo Roll

Language learning app Duolingo gets it—people get bored riding the porcelain pony. But rather than busting out the phone when dropping depth charges, Duolingo invites language students to learn critical phrases when raveling abroad like, "excuse me, I am an apple" on their new 3-ply toilet paper, Duolingo Roll.

Dunkin' One-Trip Bag

Dunkin' keeps its fans running with tasty doughnuts, sandwiches, and, of course, coffee. Recognizing an opportunity to further that mission, the international chain developed a one-trip bag that lets users carry everything from their car, including two cold brews, in a single trip. The mesh bag is attached to a hanger strapped to the forearm in a way similar to Captain America’s shield. The hanger also has two molded cup holders and is perhaps the most innovative fast-food innovation since the drive-thru.

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Some of the keys to a good prank are timing and execution. Unfortunately, Volkswagen took a pretty convincible premise—it was changing its name to Voltswagen as part of a new focus on electric vehicles—was prematurely launched when a draft of a press release emerged on the US division’s website. 

In what ended up a complicated debacle where one end kept the joke going, and the bosses in Wolfsburg not playing along, having brought back the 2015 diesel emissions scandal, when Volkswagen got caught programming its vehicles to run cleaner when being tested but dirtier on the road. The mishandling of the “Voltswagen” also fooled investors, with the company seeing a 5% rise in valuation based on the fake announcement. While not the funniest prank on the internet this year, Volkswagen’s failure may end up being a brand case study in how not to execute an April Fool’s Day prank.

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