• Carma Levene

Skin in the Game

April Fool's Day happens every year and marketers love it, especially for their social media channels. It's not hard to understand why - many of us work for "boring" industries or for conservative organisations so our communication with our audience gets pretty dry.

And there's often good reason for that. Risk adversity makes it necessary for brands to be "safe" and sometimes it's a lack of understanding that social media is actually supposed to be like people talking.

That's why I write how I do.

It's not always grammatically correct, but social media has its own grammar rules...

I digress.

Marketers love having a bit of fun on social media for April Fools Day. They get to be cool, and it makes producing content, distributing it, and the community management of it fun compared to the "boring stuff" but...most of it SUCKS.

Yep - I hate it. It's a day of eye rolls.

You know why? Because they have so much fun they forget the joke is not for them. They forget their audience, who don't want lame dad jokes and if they did there would be literally thousands of other places they would go to get better dad jokes than your business page.

Reason #2 it sucks is that you don't have a strong enough brand, a human enough brand that we can tell when you're joking. Robots don't joke, humans joke. So if your audience doesn't know you (what you stand for, what you look like) they can't really know that you're joking.


Small Business Brand: We are releasing a new product that kills kittens

Audience of Small Business Brand: Ok then...that's weird

Small Business Brand: What? No way! We would never do that! It's April Fools!

Audience of Small Business Brand: Um? Cool that you're not killing kittens. But wth?

Not really funny, is it. Either plan something now for next year and go big, or stop and ask yourself is it actually funny, clever or satirical. Otherwise it's not a joke. It's just a confusing piece of messaging.

There's always a couple of exceptions and I'd like to share one I think's funny. The business branding is so strong you know that it's a joke, but the content is so nicely crafted you keep reading it - and stick around to watch the video.

It's from a Canadian retailer called Dbrand.

They sell device skins. Phone, laptop, iPad, whatever you've got you can both protect and customise to your aesthetic. It seems they may have got excited about the prospect of Apple launching their AirPower charging pad they made the skins to spec, and then the product never got released.

So, it's a bit of a joke already - why not share it as a product for April Fools?

Delicious copywriting laser focused on their target market.

"Should the cancellation of AirPower stop us from selling skins?"

No! and while you're at it your wall sockets have too many wires 🤣

Buy them and cut them up? Why not...

Vapes aren't cool guys.

"Our mission is simple: take your money by all means possible."

Well, they're honest.

Yay capitalism.

The cherry on top - this installation video.

Did you think this was a funny as I did?

Did you see any April Fool's jokes from brands that you liked? Let me know, maybe you'll change my mind.