The Scoop: Brands roll out April Fools’ Day pranks

Plus: The end of “Beastification” on YouTube; why Republican small-dollar donors are drying up.

Brands roll out April Fool's Day Jokes

Ah, April 1: the day when the internet is filled with lies even more than normal.

Today, brands are getting in on the act in the annual celebration of buffoonery and jokes.

Many of these revolve around announcing (and in some cases actually releasing) disgusting-sounding products. Convenience store chain 7-Eleven posted a press release announcing its new Miracle Water The Big Bite Hot Dog Sparkling  Water. “The Big Bite Hot Dog Sparkling Water combines the delicious and mouthwatering experience of 7-Eleven’s iconic Big Bite Hot Dog into one refreshing beverage — ketchup and mustard included,” the press release says. At least some of these products have been produced (a USA Today reporter who was sent one said it “definitely smells like hot dog water and has a smoky aftertaste”). A note appended to the top of the release indicates they may send some of the cans out to fans.



Other gross-out faux products “announced” today include Omaha Steaks’ “Meaty Spritz,” a spray that purports to add the essence of meat to any dish, and sriracha mayo toothpaste from Lee Kum Kee.

Outside of fake products, Tinder also posted a job listing for a “VP of Ghost Hunting,” poking fun at the problem of dates disappearing without a trace; and BabyQuip posted a tease for an app that purportedly translates your baby’s babbling into words.

Why it matters: April Fools’ Day is a tough one. As we’ve seen, April Fools’ Day pranks can get you earned media. But you’re also battling hundreds of other brands all seeking the same slot in that roundup, making it harder to break through the noise. Additionally, a really convincing prank can be a problem, damaging trust in the long run, as we’ve reported previously.

But there are pranks that can work. Let’s take a look at why the 7-Eleven joke was a cut above the rest. First, the name: Hot Dog Water. It’s something everyone is familiar with, and that instantly has an “ewww” factor. But they also used the moment to promote two products: Miracle Water and their Big Bite Hot Dogs. By mashing them together, they were able to keep the prank tightly associated with the company and promote two actual products.

They were also smart to produce at least a limited run of the prank. Sending it to reporters ahead of time helped build buzz and ensure them a place on those roundup lists, and having a few more to send to super fans will keep that hum alive longer.

This may be the first and last time we ever say this, but hats off to Hot Dog Water.

Editor’s Top Reads:

  • The Washington Post reports that we may be coming to the end of a defining moment in YouTube history: the era of “Beastification.” Referring to dominant YouTube personality MrBeast (aka, Jimmy Donaldson), the style is defined by fast cuts, frenetic pacing and busy graphics that keep viewers glued to the screen. Also known as retention editing, these techniques have spread like wildfire across the video platform — but their moment may be over. Even Donaldson himself is backing away from the style that made him a star and urging more experimentation. Other YouTubers are gaining prominence by using no cuts at all, a clear counterprogramming move that seems to be working. It’s a reminder to forge your own path with content and not merely follow the biggest player on the scene. Stand out as a unique brand rather than being another one of thousands.
  • The biggest bellwether in the AI revolution won’t be from white-collar workers using ChatGPT –— it’ll be seeing how automation affects “deskless” workers. These usually hourly employees do physical tasks over knowledge-based work, CNBC reports. AI could bring big benefits to jobs like warehouse workers, enabling them to upskill into higher paying jobs like robotics over picking items for shipment to Amazon customers. But of course, it could also lead to fewer jobs as efficient robots who never need a break or a sick day take over. Again, there are looming questions for all segments of the economy. Keep watching.
  • Small Republican donors may be burned out from repeated, sometimes demanding, requests for money, the Washington Post reported. The Donald Trump-led small donor fundraising machine had been the most successful in history, netting $626.6 million in 2020 (35% more than Joe Biden) but just $51 million last year (still 18% more than Biden). Experts in the field attribute this, in large part, to donor fatigue. “The biggest problem in GOP fundraising is that we don’t treat donors well,” John Hall, a Republican small-dollar fundraiser who runs the digital firm Apex Strategies, told the Post. “Sending eight emails and texts a day that promise an artificial match, threaten to take away your GOP membership, or call you a traitor if you don’t donate doesn’t build a long-term relationship with donors.” Just like with MrBeast, it’s a reminder that a successful strategy can be destroyed by overuse and a lack of consideration for the end customer. There must be a happy medium to get the biggest returns.

Allison Carter is editor-in-chief of PR Daily. Follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.


One Response to “The Scoop: Brands roll out April Fools’ Day pranks”

PR Daily News Feed

Sign up to receive the latest articles from PR Daily directly in your inbox.