A Different Kind of April Fools’ Article

For quite some time the media used April Fools’ Day as an ideal opportunity to show their comical side and to try to fool their readers in the process.

If the readers actually bought their fake story, all the better. It was a free ad that spread very fast, almost as fast as things that go “viral” spread nowadays.

When social media appeared and the term “viral” was coined, it didn’t take long for brands to connect the dots and use social media as a platform to spread their April Fools’ jokes hoping they will become viral and spread the word about their brand as relatable entity.

This article will show the most original April Fools’ Day pranks that were created by collaboration between sport brands and their sponsors.

We’ve become a nation of holidays, April Fools’ is the flavor-of-the-month holiday where, if you can give someone a laugh, you can create goodwill for your brand.” – Allison Cohen,  PeopleTalk


Mastercard and Martin Johnson

The timing for this April Fools’ collaboration was perfect. In the eve of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Mastercard and Martin Johnson filmed this funny video. I could say what is in the video, but I’m not going to do that. Good joke does not need explanation, nor does it need introduction.


BMW and Chris Robshaw

BMW also saw the 2015 Rugby World Cup as a great opportunity to humanize their brand through humour. They had a similar idea as Mastercard, to use April Fools’ Day as an opportunity for a serious “grown up” brand to behave silly.


Puma and Arsenal

Another collaboration between a German manufacturing brand and a sport brand from England offered maybe the best April Fools’ Day prank of 2015. Recently many sport brands use similar type of ads to promote their new technology. Puma decided to film one more similar ad, only this one was so April-Fools-silly that even Monty Python’s Flying Circus would have given it thumbs up.

These three videos are great guidelines how the collaboration between brands can produce content that will gather positive feedback, even from people who were not aware of existance of either of these brands.

Unexpected behaviour always attracts attention and April Fools’ Day gives brands an opportunity to act in a different and unexpected way – silly.

Creativity and originality makes all of these three April Fools’ pranks even better than just silly. They make them memorable, because laughter combined with admiration of the effort creates great and fond memories. This is what makes these three pranks viral social media marketing at it’s best.

Some April Fools’ pranks go even further. They make people think. Orlando Magic prank from 2009 falls into this category.


Orlando Magic

A sport organization can even send a message with their actions. Even with their April Fools’ prank. Orlando Magic knew that, and decided to send a message with their 2009 April Fools’ prank.

During halftime, a blindfolded fan attempted a shot from half court for $100,000. The crowd was talked into taking part of an April Fools’ Prank. They were supposed to shout as if the fan made the shot and since the fan was blindfolded he would never know. The fan took a shot which, of course, ended nowhere near the hoop.

As agreed, the crowd stated to shout, to make the fan believe that he had won the money. Soon after, he as the “lucky winner” took the microphone and told the crowd he had just been laid off from work and that he was in need of the money. You can imagine how the fans felt.

What they did not know is that they were actually on a receiving end of an April Fools prank. The “fan” was an actor.

This prank left nobody indifferent and everybody got a free gift from their favourite team, a lesson in selflessness and modesty. A message that circled the globe thanks to this viral video.


Orlando Magic’s prank goes into a different category than the other three. It was funny for a while, but then it made people think and in my opinion their prank sent an important message in a world struck by the Global Economy Crisis.

Let’s hope 2016 produces great April Fools’ pranks that will be talked about in years to come, like these where.

On this day be silly! Be goofy! And don’t forget to say “April Fools”!

Tomislav Žarković

Tomislav Žarković

Overtime Sports Marketing

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