It is only on April Fool’s Day that brands take the liberty to play a prank or two on their own customers out of sheer good fun. From a toilet on call to a floating co-working space to a master key for a hotel room of your choice, brands were at their creative best to pull a fast one on consumers.
Here are some instances when brands this year made lucrative offers to get the attention of their consumers, only to announce the day after that they had been pranked.
7Up, a soft drink brand, played a prank on Chennaihites this April Fool’s Day. The brand teamed up with Tamil actor Sathish Mutukrishnan to see whether people in Chennai are ‘cool or get fooled’ through pranks. The actor posed as a local taxi driver and drove around the town, pranking unassuming passengers.
Sathish’s antics in the cab with the passengers ranged from him being an intrusive cab driver who wanted to know everything that happens in their life, to one who wanted to share all the details of his love story with them. He tested the passengers’ patience by playing old songs, made tourists perform a pooja in the cab and even gave them marriage advice.
While some passengers fell for his pranks and thus became ‘Fools’, there were several others who adopted 7Up’s philosophy of being ‘Cool’. The ‘Cool’ category of passengers sang along with Sathish, laughed at themselves, and some even saw right through the hoax and recognised Sathish before he could prank them.
Kingfisher was back with the ultimate April Fool’s prank. The brand pulled a fast one by announcing the launch of a new product, Kingfisher’s Instant Beer mix. It almost felt like the brand was solving a need gap for beer drinkers.
The brand announced that Kingfisher will soon be available in instant mix sachets, which can be carried anywhere and used to make beer anytime simply by mixing it with water. They also provided a website link for the customers to register themselves for the exclusive first taste of the instant mix.
The brand announced on April 2 that it was a prank and there was no instant beer mix but told people they could go and grab a cold Kingfisher Premium and celebrate the good times.
Mad Over Donuts
Mad Over Donuts announced on April 1 that all customers who walk into their store between 2 and 4 pm will get one free donut. The offer, applicable across all Mad Over Donuts outlets across India, sounded like a prank. Only that it wasn’t. Walk-in customers on the said date and time did actually get rewarded with a free donut of their choice.
The brand donned on the role of a prankster and took all its customers by surprise. The online travel company launched a video, announcing the launch of a new product – the Yatra MasterKeyCard – a hotel key card that unlocks the door to a pre-reserved room in ‘any’ hotel. Set in a quirky setup, the video revolves around the narrative of a man hassled and annoyed about not getting the ideal hotel room. The video showcases the perfect solution for the ordeal, the man has to go through the Yatra MasterKeyCard, the smartest thing one can own, which gives him access to the perfect room adorned with customised service offerings anywhere and anytime.
But after all the happy promises, Yatra, like the mischievous friend, made this revelation that it was all a part of a prank. But all was not lost. Customers can enjoy massive discounts on their favourite hotels the entire day.
The brand pranked its viewers on April Fool’s Day with ‘ek desi’ surprise of English web series F.R.I.E.N.D.S
Comedy Central, an American pay television channel, celebrated the day with the best of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Crafting an insane laughter riot, starting 6am, Comedy Central aired the world’s highest-rated sitcom in a new avatar, with one character in every episode speaking in the conspicuous voice of a prominent Bollywood personality, that too in Hindi.
The series characters -- Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Ross, Chandler and Joey -- had the voice with much gusto from some iconic stars of Bollywood, including Sonam Kapoor, Kajol, Kangana, Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan and Shah Rukh Khan in this string of rib-tickling episodes.
The travel brand Ixigo rolled out a fun and engaging contest, asking people to try and take a screenshot of a moving flight in a frame. Five lucky winners get to fly to a domestic destination under Rs 5,000, the travel site said on its Twitter handle on March 31. The next day, it put out another tweet, saying they had pulled a prank.
Ola cabs on April 1 initiated crowdfunding toilets for 20,000 people. The ride-hailing platform launched a nationwide crowdfunding campaign to build toilets across India to positively impact over 20,000 people. Launched under Ola’s ‘My Ride. My Cause’ programme, users would be able to contribute Re 1 per ride from April 1 until October 2. The brand partnered with Gramalaya, an approved key resource centre from the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, who would use the proceeds to build toilets for the underprivileged across India.
The announcement followed the launch of Ola’s April Fool’s video, “Ola Restrooms”, which aimed at building awareness around the need for accessible and hygienic lavatories in India. Highlighting the need for more public toilets in the country, the digital campaign introduced ‘Ola Restrooms’, a new solution that seeks to address the dearth of facilities. Known for its unconventional campaigns, Ola used the occasion to draw attention to a social issue and turn it into a cause-based initiative.
A Delhi-based co-working company, One Co.Work, recently released an April Fool prank video on “Row-Working”, a floating co-working space. The prank was to promote it as the coolest workplace in India.