Over the past decade, the brakes have been applied to our collective sense of humour. Think back to popular television series like The Simpsons and South Park, which drew huge followings using bold satire and ridicule. In those days, viewers weren’t so much bothered about the edgy content as they were the prospect of busting a rib from laughing too hard!
Now… let’s examine their comedic targets through the lens of today’s standards. Do you find the gags as funny? Do some of the jokes make you feel uncomfortable? Are you squirming at those which use minorities or the disadvantaged as their fodder?
Unless you’ve lived in a vacuum for the past two decades, the answer is probably ‘yes’.
We’re not here to argue whether that’s right or wrong – that’s far too deep a debate for this humble blog. Instead, we’ve taken this trip down memory lane to remind you that the scope for humour in public discourse has narrowed dramatically.
The new landscape applies equally to advertising, promotion and social media posts. Trying to gain attention through humour is a far more dangerous business nowadays, because the risk of offending has never been so high. And the risk of someone whom you’ve unwittingly offended (fairly or unfairly) calling you out has also never been so high.
But there is one day of the year where you can freely charge into territory that’s not only hilarious, but also won’t offend – if executed properly.
Yes folks, we’re talking about April Fool’s Day. Seriously. It’s become a thing in the world of marketing – and we’d argue it’s getting more important each year because of the unique opportunity it offers for businesses to showcase their personality.
In recent times, some businesses have pulled-off ingenious April 1st stunts that have landed them tremendous publicity.
Here are a few of our favourites:
- Brit Box launched Interp-Brit a ‘service’ to translate classic British Shows from the Queen’s English to plain, old American
- Chegg: The online textbook rental company invented a ‘memory pillow’ that included a sleeve for a reference book, whose contents conveniently seeped into your brain during sleep.
- MeBank: Came up with the appropriately named ‘Chuck’ – a disposable credit card made of cardboard.
We’re also proud to share one from the Brilliant Logic archives.
In 2016, we convinced Facebook users on Sydney’s Northern Beaches that one of their best-known local clubs, Harbord Diggers, was planning to install an underwater bar. The ‘story’ gained huge traction across social media – thanks partly to some help from community media, whom we let in on the joke!
Look at April Fool’s Day as an excuse to let your marketing instincts go crazy. Whatever it is that you’ve always wanted to say or do just might be indulged on this one day of the year. There’s only one condition: Make sure it’s all about your business – and not at someone else’s expense. Just like all the examples above. If it’s so good that it’s believable, then you’ll be the one laughing amid a windfall of attention that could give your business a serious PR breakthrough.
That’s why, for the past few weeks, the creative team at Brilliant Logic has been devising some cracking April Fool’s Day campaigns for our clients. Let’s see if you can pick them in a few weeks’ time? Or better still, why not get in on the fun and contact us for some help with a campaign for your business? After all, what harm can it do?
Give us a call on (02) 4324 6962 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.