There are many cultural events signifying the change from winter to spring. Daylight saving time, for example, began in the middle of March – a month that brings warmer temperatures across the northern hemisphere. The transition also brings many international events and holidays that Internet retailers can use to promote their brands. One of the most notorious is April Fools’ Day. Here are three examples – ranging from unbelievable to completely true – of marketers having a little fun during the holiday of pranks:

The impractical
Certain pranks are celebrated more for their cleverness than their believability. These marketing events expand upon the brand’s existing imagery, taking colors, slogans and even the products themselves to a humorous level.

April Fools’ Day marketing campaigns for online retailers

For example, during April Fools’ Day 2015, Blue Moon turned its iconic orange slice into something more. Instead of adding the fruit to every glass of beer in its advertising, the brewing company stated on Twitter it had collaborated with “renowned fruiticulturists” to create beer-infused oranges, AdWeek reported. Accompanying the tweet were pictures of cold, frothy oranges sliced flat at the top and held like beer mugs. To top things off, the fruits were decorated with orange slices just like a typical mug of Blue Moon. The company tagged the post with “#BrewingBreakthrough.”

Those who truly believed Blue Moon could create beer-infused oranges were likely few and far in between. This campaign didn’t succeed on its ability to convince consumers of a product that didn’t exist. Rather, it played on the company’s strengths and existing branding to create an amusing piece of content. Using Twitter and the hashtag were excellent choices as well. The combination allowed consumers to easily take part in the fun, getting engaged and spreading brand awareness simultaneously.

The plausible
The same year that Blue Moon unveiled their intoxicating citruses, Tidy Cats created the Clump Claw 2000, a machine that was designed to keep interactions between humans and litter boxes to a minimum. The concept – a drone with a scoop attached – evolved into three prototypes. One, the company told CNET, is lost somewhere in the vastness of the Grand Canyon. The second is locked in the secret Tidy Cats Innovation Lab, while the third was sent directly to CNET for testing.

The product, of course, did not work better than a traditional hand scoop. However, it did hint at something more. CNET envisioned a world where Amazon receives electronic payments, its drones deliver cat food and Tidy Cat aerials clean litter boxes. With drones now available in stores like Barnes and Noble, it’s feasible the Clump Claw 2000 could see its day to shine.

Aside from creating a potentially marketable idea, Tidy Cats also capitalized on a trending piece of technology to stir buzz about the company. Consumer interest in drones has increased over the past few years. Even e-commerce businesses have invested in the technology. As CNET mentioned, Amazon plans to deliver small packages with its own fleet of drones. Internet retailers can take a similar approach and associate themselves with consumer trends this April Fools’ Day. For instance, a clever marketer could capitalize on all the controversy surrounding self-balancing scooter boards, also known as the hoverboards that holiday shoppers were dismayed to find out often caused fires and other serious problems.

The real
In some cases, it’s beneficial for e-commerce retailers to time the release of a real product or campaign with April Fools’ Day to generate excitement. Amazon Dash, for instance, was launched March 31, 2015. Dash is a small piece of technology built to make shopping from home even easier for Prime subscribers. Each device is paired with a frequently used product such as coffee, trash bags or detergent. When pressed, Dash uses Wi-Fi to trigger online payments and order replacements from Amazon.

The timing of the launch coupled with its exclusivity had consumers wondering if the product was real, USA Today reported. Marketers agree this was an excellent move on the e-commerce giant’s part.

“People are talking about Amazon Dash, including people who would not normally be doing so,” David Johnson, CEO of branding and public relations company Strategic Vision, told AdWeek. “More importantly, this attention that Amazon Dash is getting is no doubt leading people to check it out on Amazon and also check out the Amazon Prime program that it is offered through.”

The scope of an April Fools’ Day campaign is limited only by the marketer’s creativity.

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