Who are you fooling?
As March comes to a close and April approaches, I can’t help but be excited about a few things:
- The weather is getting warmer, which improves my personal productivity around the house tenfold,
- My birthday is also in April, which is still something I look forward to celebrating…for now, and
- April Fool’s jokes will turn an otherwise normal Monday into a water-cooler-discussion-filled day of the "Did you see what Company X did?" questions and speculation about the authenticity of various news stories.
With that, it does make me wonder whether April Fool’s pranks are best suited for the corporate environment or should be left to a more forgiving audience, such as the school-aged children or friends and family. I, personally, enjoy seeing the completely ridiculous, yet very well thought-out ideas released by Google, YouTube and the other big names. Not sure what I mean? Check out this compilation video from 2012.
As much as I enjoy watching corporate brands "let their hair down," I can’t help but think about it from a journalist’s perspective. Reporters and editors must spend their day determining which news is legitimate and which is hoax—a task, I imagine, that is a bit less jovial and more frustrating. We all have come to expect Google and the like to participate in the antics annually. But when it comes to smaller companies and those that are less obvious in their deceit, coveted media relationships and brand reputations could be compromised very easily with a bogus press release or announcement. Fictitious announcements could waste the valuable time of reporters desperately trying to meet their deadlines.
So, I give the warning: Think before you set out to dupe the professionals with which you’ve worked so hard to build a relationship with a faux April Fool’s Day press release. The 'Class Clown' of your high school usually wasn’t the same person as 'Most Likeable' or 'Most Likely to Succeed.'