Winsperations April: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Brand Jokes

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It’s been a few weeks since the start of spring and we’ve seen abnormally cold temperatures and snow—lots of it. It may be due to the pain of having our hopes of spring ripped from us (or the fact that we’re in the Advertising industry) that has made us skeptical and dubious of jokes—well, most of us anyway. The topic of this month’s Winsperations is the Brand-Prankster. Whether you’re a small brand, a premium brand, or a marketing person, make sure you “check yourself, before you wreck yourself.”

Holidays are the perfect excuse for brands to put their best efforts forward in order to stand out. Valentine’s Day allows brands to be cheeky, Christmas calls for sales, and birthdays show consumers that brands recognize their special day. As the holidays become more pertinent to brands other than Hallmark and Hershey’s, April Fools’ is popping up as another opportunity to demonstrate personality. Even nondurable goods brands like Quilted Northern can step up to the plate to show their creativity against brands like Apple and Google. Our office here at Winsper is no exception from pranksters, however the effort could be stronger. Our resident man-child, AKA Art Director has been playing the same “snakes in a Pringles can” prank for three years in a row. Check out some of the better practical jokes that brands played this year.


So what happens when April Fools’ Day jokes go horribly wrong? Can you attempt a stunt without having a good PR team on standby? Google is known for some of the best advertising campaigns, however they still managed to overestimate the way jokes would be perceived by the end user. A smaller company, Honest Bee, had similar consumer backlash. So what went wrong for these brands? Was it the overconfidence that the humor of their joke would be enough to ask for forgiveness from those who fell for it? Learn more about what happens when marketing pranks backfire.


For our April Spotify playlist, our own band of Merry Pranksters took our eclectic mix of hip hop, electronic, country and pop music to shine some light on this dreary Spring month. Keep your work weeks flowing and follow us on Spotify for our new monthly mixes. We’re giving away $10 Spotify gift cards to the first 10 people who follow our channel.


Winsper is a boutique marketing services firm, specializing in delivering marketing
strategy and omnichannel execution to premier brands. Our charter is to help those brands make more money, save more money, or ideally both.

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Gillian Lynch