So yesterday was of course April fools day, the one day a year where you can’t trust a single news story and everything seems too good to be true (it probably isn’t!). It’s also the day that many of the world’s top companies release meticulously planned pranks, often putting a lot of time and effort into designing and creating new products and services that won’t actually ever be released officially. The efforts they go to make you second guess whether it’s real or not, and its all because they want to ‘win April fools day’ because of all the promotion and publicity they can gain from it.
Saying that though, there were actually a few quite amusing ones this year, some of which demonstrated some rather nice design. Predictably, there were a couple of pranks to do with the upcoming Scottish independence vote: the Daily Mail claimed to have discovered how the Union Jack will look if Scotland become independent, whilst The Telegraph released images of what the pound coin would ‘look’ like in an independent Scotland.
Elsewhere, Dominoes ‘launched’ the Edibox, an edible pizza box which would serve as a new order option for their pizzas. This was one prank that I really wanted to be true, how cool would it be to eat the entire takeaway order. As Dominoes themselves said in their press release, “You won’t have to fight to fit that square box into a round bin – this is a waste-free dining experience”.
As well as being humorous, the stunt also served a purpose, protesting against Bristol mayor George Ferguson’s planned parking scheme in Clifton. To be honest, it took me a while to realise that the image was fake, especially because of the scale of Taxi Studio’s last stunt from 2012.
Once again, Google’s various different subsections each released their own April fools prank. Google Chrome offered Android and iOS translation support for Emojis, whilst Google maps followed up last years treasure map design with a Pokemon Challenge.
Ok, Google is a massive company with a huge number of employees, but it’s still insane the amount of effort they put into creating these slick and fully functioning pieces of design and technology that are only available for a single day.
So that brings me to, in my opinion, the reigning champion from last year’s April fools day, YouTube. Last year they released a video claiming that the site had always been a competition to find the worlds best video and that YouTube would be closing down that evening so that all of the videos could be reviewed to find a winner. They even got two presenters to spend hours reading out every single one of the ‘nominees’.
While not to the same huge scale as 2013 (no nominee livestreams this time!), this years prank from YouTube was still very good. Claiming to be behind every single viral video that has ever been created, they also gave a taste of the ones they supposedly had planned for the future, anyone for ‘clocking’ or ‘baby shaming’?
By showing these ‘future trends’, I think that YouTube might have actually made them real. A quick search of some of them shows that they’ve already become popular, there’s already several ‘clocking’ videos on YouTube. They may have won April fools day for the second year running, so excuse me, I’m off to shame some babies, kiss my dad and pretend I’m a clock!