I have mostly managed to avoid April 1st this year, the Feliciraptor decided to sleep in late on my day off and but the time I woke there was only 150 minutes of foolery left in the UK. By the time it came round to writing an “April’s Fool” post it was way past the midday cut off so I’ll have to park it for the year (and schedule for 2016).
Saying that I’m in two minds as to whether or not I’m going to involve myself with this “time-honoured” tradition as it has gotten a little out of hand. Not in the “people are getting hurt” out of hand, but too many brands are trying their hands at April Fools. Yes, I am claiming that April 1st is becoming too commercialised. The problem is that most of the “jokes” are just plain awful.
I’ll get the good ones out-of-the-way, practically anything by Google (especially Google Maps). This year you can play Pac Man on Google Maps, but in previous years you could collect Pokemon or convert it to a Legend of Zelda map. That’s a good April Fools, one that has taken effort to do.
Or, one that is genuinely designed to fool people. My favourite one from this year was one that was so simple, sounds plausible but I’m sure caught out a number of people at one of the best universities in the world:
Dr Paul Coxon (@paulcoxon) April 01, 2015
This is also the prank I am planning for next year, except I am going to stick a sign on the drinks machines saying they are now voice activated and wait for people to shout “tea” at them.
The problem with April’s Fools is the way that any brand on social media feels like they need to join in on the act. Some dodgy photoshopping and a ridiculous premise seems to be enough for them to consider their job done and can give their SEO Expert or Social Guru a pat on the back and a tick in the ‘engagement’ box.
Take Banco Santander:
Santander UK (@santanderuk) April 01, 2015
(@Tesco) April 01, 2015
These are just embarrassing. I can only imagine that these are being devised by creative types who have a spare hour to do some image manipulation on their Macs and think that the more absurd the more people will believe them.
That’s not how an April’s Fool should work. It should be something just beyond the expectation of what seems possible but presented in a way that seems plausible.
As a result some announcements made on April 1st that seem crazy can turn out to be real. Take Gmail, now it seems crazy that it could have ever been thought to be a joke but at the time it was launched the ability to have a huge inbox did seem a joke.
So it is with the one possibly-real/joke from Amazon…the Dash button. Part of me hopes this is not a joke as it would be amazing, but there is a large part of me that thinks this may be one of the best pranks this year.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Fool Me Once.”