If there is one time when big companies can get away with playing a trick on their customers it is probably April Fool’s Day, and thanks to social media it has never been easier.
In the social media world anything goes, so much of what we see online can be and often is believed.
Perhaps that is why this year YouTube’s April Fool’s joke has gone viral – thanks to the help of US hip-hop artist Snoop Dogg.
For the sophisticated prank, it describes its newest innovation Snoopavision in a carefully put together video on its site. The only indication that it is a joke is the launch date in 2043.
In the PR film, You Tube claims to have made it possible to click on a Snoop Dogg icon under any video on the site, allowing the viewer to watch it in Snoopavision, a 360-degree video experience in which the US hip-hop artist will appear.
As the video sharing site’s new invention went viral, some were unaware that the joke was on them.
VHS is back
Even the BBC’s announcement on the return of VHS videos managed to catch some people out in another carefully crafted April Fool offering.
Customers logging onto the BBC Store website today were alerted to the news that video tapes were set for a comeback.
“BBC Store already allows you to buy, download and keep your favourite BBC shows, but very soon for every purchase you make on BBC Store, we will send you a free VHS straight to your door.
“For the first time many recent hit shows including Luther and Happy Valley will now be available to view in this treasured format alongside their BBC Store digital release.”
On Twitter, Nikki Miller asked: “How did the BBC know I’d always wanted to watch my favourite shows on VHS? I predict the end of illegal streaming.”
The BBC and You Tube are not the only big names to realise that getting in on April Fool fun is a good way of encouraging people to talk about their brand.
Mobile phone network Vodafone put an advert on its website for a Voda-drone, promising to deploy an on demand service to reach areas that do not have network coverage. But at the end of the Voda-drone’s description readers learn that it is all just a big gag:
“Unfortunately these drones aren’t available at every store yet because it’s April 1st, and if you’ve read this far we want to wish you a happy April Fool’s Day from everyone at Vodafone.”
When is an iPad not an iPad?
While multinational corporations may use April Fool’s day to garner customer loyalty, for the rest of us it is an opportunity to play jokes on friends and family.
When Dad Joe Heenan from Perth, Scotland, decided to play a trick on his two young children and post the picture on Twitter he probably did not expect it would go viral.
Joe took a photo of his children opening an iPad box – but instead of the tablet, they found a note their dad had placed inside saying it was an April Fool’s joke.
The expression on the youngsters’ faces could be one of the reasons why the picture has been re-tweeted 3,000 times.
But Joe says not everyone has seen the funny side.
“It’s just a joke. They already have iPads, I’m not that mean.
“They both got a chocolate egg for being good sports. But some people without a sense of humour have started to bombard me with hate messages.”
“They don’t realise it’s just a tweet.
“My kids know I post this kind of stuff on social media and they are always good sports.”
Joe says the kind of response he has received from some social media users about the joke has been quite hurtful.
“People are complaining saying I’m a bad dad which hurts, as my kids have the same sense of humour as me and they love doing these silly posts too.
“But I guess some like to see the negative side of things.”
Gareth O’Sullivan’s April Fool joke on his parents involved creating disruption to the workings of the home computers.
“I printed off the troll faces last night, then this morning I cut them out and used tape to stick them on the back of the mouse on my mum and dad’s computers,” says Gareth who is from Northampton.
“I wanted to get revenge on my parents for previous pranks they’ve done on me.
“My parents both did that toilet roll prank, you know the one where they place the toilet roll on the door and close it so when you open the door it falls on you?
“I’ve not received any response yet as I’m at work but I’m sure they will be messaging me soon.”
Vonny Moyes, from Edinburgh decided to play a trick on her family at breakfast time.
“My family have quite a long tradition of pranking one another, ” Vonny says. “My papa used to take me to the joke shop and my sisters and I would consistently play tricks on my mum.
“One time we stopped in at her work to say hello and dropped so many stink bombs, the building was evacuated.
“Roll on 25 years, and my children have started doing the same to me.
“Most recently they left fake vomit and blood on the kitchen floor, and I had a slight meltdown much to their amusement.
“So, today was time for some payback! I wanted to do something that wouldn’t be as obvious to them as fake poo, so I thought something that would cause minor disruption to their breakfast that took advantage of their sleepiness would be perfect.
“It worked a treat, though they did sleep in and kept me waiting like a giddy child.”
By Rozina Sini
Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35941866