It’s an annual tradition for companies to embrace their weirder side on April Fool’s Day, hoping their fake ads go viral, creating real value for them in the process. At its best, its a chance for companies to poke fun of themselves and tell good jokes. At its worst, its just another ad vying for clicks.
While plenty April Fool’s ads missed the mark this year, here are some of our favorites:
Honda’s “Sixth Sense” App
File this one under “jokes that are actually a good idea.” Honda’s ad plugs an adaptation of the anti-collision technology found in cars, but repurposed as an app for distracted walkers. The “Sixth Sense” app detects when pedestrians who are texting while walking are about to walk into another person, car, or other obstacle.
This may not be real, but it could save many people from walking into each other or falling into fountains.
This ad is an accurate parody of the big-idea ads favored by many tech companies, complete with a swirling piano score and birds-eye-view shots of bustling cities. Except the “biometric breakthrough” plugged in this ad is basically licking your phone to unlock it. The fake “tongueprinting” technology offers users the “freedom to log in anywhere without effort,” the narrator says.
The slogan is on the nose, too: “Nearly invisible. Always tasteful”
Petco’s “Beautiful Bond” Salon
Petco plays on the idea that pet owners sometimes bear an uncanny resemblance to their pets in their ad for the fictional “Beautiful Bond” Salon.
In its ad, the salon claims to provide pet owners the chance to get makeovers to look like their pets, even if they’re a snake or a fish.
Disney’s Kale Churros
Disney goes for a text-style video promoting a big idea for a new food in its parks: kale churros. The snack is pitched as “like eating salad and dessert at the same time.”
T-Mobile’s prank ad is a good example of a company taking the opportunity to poke fun at its own brand. The ad hypes up the Sidekick, which combines the brand’s old-school flip phones with a pair of shoes. Extend the shoelaces up as retractable lacebuds, shoot a selfie with the toe camera, or just hold up the soles for the built-in speakers.
The ad parodies the “edgy” feel T-Mobile ads often have, but does fall to one of the classic pitfalls of April Fool’s ads: the CEO cameo. In the ad, CEO John Legere voices an expletive-spouting voice assistant.
Burger King’s Chocolate Whoppers
Burger King produced a parody of one of its own flame-broiled ads, showing closeups of a “chocolate Whopper” debuting soon. The Whopper is complete with a grilled chocolate patty, topped with raspberry syrup,chocolate pickles and white chocolate onions on a chocolate cake bun.
Knowing the Internet, the likelihood that someone attempts to recreate it in real life is probably close to 100 percent.
Auntie Anne’s Essential Pretzel Oils
Auntie Anne’s is one of the more subtle attempts, promoting a luxury brand called the “House of A Essential Oils.”
Many of the jokes are snuck into the fine print of a faux promotional website, promising benefits including: “promotes youthfulness,” “increases saltiness” and “induces hallucinations.”
“We recommend consuming pretzels, not rubbing them on your skin and hair as a substitute,” the company writes.
Introducing the newest line of essential pretzel oils from “House of A.” Scents include Freshly Baked, Salty and Cinnamon Twist.
— Auntie Anne's (@AuntieAnnes) March 30, 2018
Virgin Australia spin class
Virgin is known for extreme luxury on its planes, so its April Fool’s ad plays on this reputation while plugging a service that sounds impossible in an era of ever-shrinking legroom: spin classes in the air. Still, the idea of getting a workout in while going from one place to another beyond walking up and down the aisle is appealing.
Ray White’s Underwater Properties
An Australian real estate company produced this ad purporting to promote underwater homes that are for sale in the Sydney area. While it’s usually not funny to think of homes that are “under water,” seeing a family look outside and into a school of fish is worth a laugh.