While its origins are uncertain, April Fools’ Day is undoubtedly a European innovation.
The ‘holiday’ has, however, spread to Asia-Pacific in a big way and has become a way for brand marketers in the region to show their playful side (while getting earned media exposure at the same time, of course!)
Below is a selection of some of the best Asia-Pacific April Fools’ Day 2019 campaigns.
Subway in Australia, known for its Instagram-worthy visual campaigns, ‘launched’ a new product on Monday. Called ‘Bread Fresh’, it’s a room fragrance which promises to give you the Subway fresh bread smell at home.
Not to be outdone, Dominos Australia had its own new product, the Candied Pepperoni Thickshake. As bacon ice cream is now a thing down under, this prank was not entirely unbelievable!
Poking fun at regional tensions between two food-obsessed countries, Grab announced they were launching a service, GrabFoodCopter, to helicopter Singapore food to Malaysians who prefer it over local fare. The company went so far as to sign up 1,500 beta testers over 3 days in advance but announced to sad foodies that it was a prank on April 1st.
[[UPDATE]] – We have found 1500 beta-testers for GrabFoodCopter. Thank you for signing up. Everyone else, stay tuned on Monday for our launch. Introducing: GrabFoodCopter, satisfying your every craving near or far! We’re launching soon and are looking for beta testers for GrabFoodCopter, so if you’re interested to have all your favourites delivered to your doorstep from literally anywhere via helicopter, sign up.
Posted by GrabFood on Thursday, 28 March 2019
Durex, too, brought attention to regional food with its Mala Hot Pot condoms. Made with fish skin and a handpicked ‘extra heat’ ingredients, the condom was positioned to offer its customers a ‘tasteful experience’.
KFC Philippines offered its customers a quick way to satisfy their craving. ‘Coming Soon’ is friend chicken in a bag which requires just 2 minutes in the microwave.
Perhaps one of the more elaborate April Fools’ jokes comes from WeChat’s parent company Tencent.
Boasting that the company had developed a ‘flavor detector’ which can identify the quality of thousands of ingredients and offer suggestions on how to combine them, the company posted very long WeChat post description of its new technology’s benefits.
“For example, if you want to replicate authentic squid, you can just combine stinky tofu + coffee grounds + oyster sauce + rotten tomato + simmer for 15 minutes.”
The company then warns, “Do not aim at humans with this function”.
With a similar level of detail as its rival Tencent, Baidu described its new AI app, Cupid, which can determine when a couple is having an argument and why.
The app then tells both sides what the other person is feeling and advises on how to reduce the conflict.
While admitting it was a prank, company executives did point out that the technology required to make this product are already ‘mature'(!)
While all the above were well-executed and amusing, the award for the most ‘out there’ brand April Fools’ gag has to go to KFC in Japan.
Over Twitter, KFC Japan said that ‘in response to overwhelming demand from everyone’ it now sells a ‘long-awaited new product’ #onlychickenbone.
Loosely translated, the tweet states that KFC have ‘extracted the bones of chicken’ so that its customers can use it for ‘hot pot, ramen, and many other things’.
So far, the post has nearly 30,000 retweets and more than 40,000 likes, so I think it also wins the earned reach award as well.
So, Asia-Pacific brand marketers, KFC Japan has set the bar high for future campaigns, so here’s looking forward to what you can do on April Fool’s day 2020!