Today is April Fools' Day; a long-standing tradition. But have you ever wondered where it comes from?
The origin of this special day is pretty controversial, since there are several theories being proffered to explain how it came about. One of them says that, in France in 1564, King Charles IX stated that the year would start beginning on January 1st (it had until then started on April 1st). As part of this, the tradition of exchanging gifts at the time would also move. But some people kept offering presents in April because they refused to accept the new date, some because they didn't know about it and others just wanted to make fun and spread confusion regarding the real date. And, over the time, gifts turned into jokes and tricks, and the tradition spread all over Europe.
After more than 500 years, the tradition is still alive and brands ride the wave to their benefit. It can be a great opportunity for them to reinvigorate a connection with their customers in a light-hearted way. Thanks to social media, these April Fools' jokes can be seen and shared by a large audience when they are well managed. For example, in 2014 the company Le Slip Français, which sells 100% made in France underwear, unveiled the first pants with a truffle perfume to fight against bad smells. This operation definitely created a buzz and received many pieces of media coverage. SNCF, the French rail company, also played the game and displayed destinations such as Los Angeles or Sidney, which are pretty difficult to imagine!
This year, among others, Google has announced the Google Panda, a teddy bear that can act as a physical version of Google Now, able to provide immediate answers to your questions. And Samsung has unveiled its upcoming “cleaver phone”, the Samsung Galaxy Blade Edge.
April Fools' Day gives brands the possibility to show how creative they can be compared to their competitors, to gain visibility and boost emotional bonds with consumers. Most announcements made are too funny to be true but, eventually, the goal is to create buzz rather than make people really believe. Today #Aprilfools has been one of the top trending topics on Twitter, meaning brands not taking part have perhaps missed an opportunity for publicity by not playing the game in a forum where stories spread like wildfire.