April Fools' Round Up

April 4, 2017 Ophelie Zalcmanis-Lai

April Fools’ is not only the one day of the year where people have to think really hard about apostrophe placement.

It’s also the day of the year when brands are able to flex their creativity, have fun and forget about the guardrails that usually encompass their creative work.

This kind of brain dump is unfortunately so rare.

Whether it’s because of legal, endless creative briefs or lack of the popular vote, it’s the quirky ideas that often get the axe.

So in this edition of the Battle for Time, we’re celebrating the freaks. The oddities. The silly ones.  

This is what captured our minutes this week.

1. Bïgland by Ikea

Imagine how much more popular Ikea would be if Bïgland was a real thing.

Known for its winding passages of endless furniture and house wear and a section just for screaming children, budget-friendly Ikea isn’t always a peaceful place.

So the brand did things like Småland, where parents can drop off their kids while they shop. Ikea also has its famous café, known for that Swedish meatball combo. Did we mention the free coffee refills? And for the handyman who forgot his tape measure, there are strips of measuring tape for your use.

In spirit of all that, the family lifestyle brand decided to tease us all with Bïgland where adults can come and “blow off steam.” There’s a Skål Bar, Swedish Massage Centre and even an Arbitration Station where professional mediators will help you choose between finishes on your dining room table.

What makes this content play so fun? The fact that it really isn’t all that ‘out there’ for Ikea.

Seriously, none of us would be surprised about if the brand actually did stuff like that. Ikea is known for the way it caters to families’ needs. Inspired by how life actually is in Sweden (taking care of you from cradle to the grave, literally), Ikea puts family first at every level from product to in-store experience.

Bïgland is exactly that, but simply caters to parents. Let’s be real, who else is paying the bills here?

All in, the content play comes full circle by having language that brings the idea to life by poking fun at the brands products.

A Premium Swedish Meatball Eye Mask or a Lingonberry MALMosa anybody?

2. Canada Air by WestJet

This is what the kids these days might say is “low key savage.”

For the weekend, WestJet ‘rebranded’ as “Canada Air.” Whoop, there it is.

Firstly, it throws some subtle shade at Air Canada, a brand that is often critiqued for having some questionable customer service. Customers have been known to pick WestJet over Air Canada for having friendlier service and more affordable prices. They can be coy if they want, but the word reversal speaks for itself.

Then it goes on to break through the Canada 150th chatter by making itself as Canadian as possible, thank yous and ice skates included.

What makes this spoof ad particularly good is that it shows how WestJet is aware of its customer. It highlights the things that people enjoy the most about WestJet and shows how it’s different from its competitors.

The delivery could be improved a little, but hey, that’s just the corporate typecast for you.
The cherry on top is that it’s not all fake. The ad offered customers extra incentive by promoting an actual promotion at the end, WestJet’s “Most Canadian Sale.”  

3. The Micro Mac by McDonald’s

“Beefy. Cheesy. Tiny.”

Those are actually 3 apt adjectives for this quick April Fools’ prank from McDonald’s.

It’s beefy because it plays off of the talk that’s already surrounding McDonald’s and its moves to update the classic Big Mac burger.

It’s cheesy because of the intense voice over (which just complements the whole ridiculousness).

It’s tiny because it’s a quick 27 seconds of McDonald’s fantasizing.

This ad works because it shows how nimble McDonald’s is. It might not be a new idea considering all the messaging out there for the Big Mac, but it’s fresh because it flips the idea of the product on its head.

The Big Mac is just that – it’s big. It’s known for that, people order it its excess (and special sauce), and make room in their diet for it.

So here is McDonald’s brand personality coming out: it enjoys fun and food so much that it can make fun of its own products. When a brand can act in a way that circumvents its products, that when you know it has purpose.

4. The Humanless Host by Airbnb

Talk about being topical. This is intelligent humour. 

There’s been a lot of discussion lately surrounding the idea of AI and what role it plays in making our jobs obsolete.

Since Airbnb “believes in a future of convenience” this is just an exploration of that idea in a light-hearted way. Releasing this during a time when this topic is top of mind just makes it that much more relevant, farcical or not.

It fulfills all our fantasies about convenience, including charging your phone anywhere at anytime or never having to drive yourself anywhere.

It also exploits all of our fears about AI including evil red-eyed robots and having to constantly keep them powered to work.

Not to mention, as Airbnb continues its robust expansion into other sides of the industry this ad fits its language and goals in trying to make people’s lifestyles more efficient.

For now however, we prefer to actual human being face-to-face reaction.

5. Petlexa by Amazon

Of course we had to include the cutesey humour.

Pets: they’re just as much a part of your family as your weird Uncle Bob.

Amazon got into its customers’ heart strings by featuring their pets as the next audience who has needs that Amazon’s Alexa can fulfill.

You already auto-order your cat’s wet food, so why not give your cat that power too?

Well at least that’s the focus of this imaginative ad. It looks and feels exactly like all of Amazon’s Alexa Moments ads, but this one takes the everyday a little further.

It’s not in-your-face kind of humour, nor is it completely out of line.

If you don’t watch carefully, you might just believe it.

6. Snapchat's Instagram Filter

There's not much to say about this other than "shots fired." 

As Facebook and Instagram continue to role out updates that continue to resemble Snapchat, it looks like Snapchat decided to say something. 

Marketers have been struggling to differentiate between the two and understand the value in creating a product that loses its unique capabilities by being far too similar to another product. 

Here they are, playing it up. 

April Fools’ or not, brands should always strive to show off honest tones of voices through creative works. There has to be a better way and it certainly doesn’t include playing it safe.

At the end of the day, people engage with content by lending their minutes. Content is successful when its battery is fully charged with attention.

What will win this week?

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