April Fools’ Day flops come out early

Does anyone remember when April Fools’ Day used to be fun?

Blind corners, monster faces and the odd bit of cellophane was how April 1 was marked in the “good old days”.

These days the holiday resembles one big ad as every company with a Twitter account unashamedly flogs conceited PR-safe ‘gags’ in a bid to burrow their trademarks deeper into our brains.

You might have forgotten it was even April Fools’ Day today, and who could blame you?

The holiday has a 450-year history but is only marked on corporate calendars these days.

Hordes of marketing executives have saved the date, falling over themselves this morning to become the next soulless viral hit.

Queue vomit. Companies used to just tell you how much their products cost and send you an image, but now that Silicon Valley is dropping acid we’re being treated to the new domain of ‘native marketing’.

Examples aplenty. Pets can now apparently order Deliveroo; which underpaid gig economy worker was forced to come up with that one?

Ironically the legalese is not far away either; ME Bank’s tawdry ‘banking tracksuit’ is presented as a legit product, but the company is forced to remind customers not to forward any pitches to those who’ve opted out.

Domino’s failed to rise to the occasion with its garlic-less garlic bread.

Volkswagen, on the other hand, chose to get in early with its prank flop.

Not the first tradition to morph into a big marketing exercise, April Fools’ rapid race to the bottom has its own unique angle on social media.

With relatively little effort, brands can find millions of eyeballs just by riding on a wave – so why not create claim their own? That’s money.

Perhaps we’re doomed to witness the digital world enabling a slow and painful merger between our shrinking personal spaces and the ever-growing spectre of consumption.

We used to work capital, but now we’re increasingly the ones being worked by social media algorithms and overpaid marketing ‘gurus’.

But let’s not get too serious, it’s all a joke, after all!

You’re supposed to laugh.

What could be funnier than the world’s largest corporations sticking their tendrils into every available orifice of the social media zeitgeist?

Topics: April Fools
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