Every single year, without exception, big brands use April 1 as an opportunity to stay relevant by pulling off some kind of prank or false marketing stunt. Companies know that humor and spontaneity in the digital world can lead to new social media followers and tons of consumer engagement.
But what happens when brands botch their April Fools’ Day stunts?
This year, Google showed us exactly how important planning and foresight can be when it comes to pulling off April 1 shenanigans:
Some Google staffers decided to upgrade Gmail (that quaint little email service with nearly one billion users) with a “mic drop” button. This button would allow users who were annoyed with conversation threads to deliver a GIF of one of the minions dropping a mic:
The problem: people actually used this “mic drop” button instead of pressing the “send” button. Needless to say, the prank went terribly wrong. People even complained of losing their jobs because the recipients on the other end of their inadvertent “mic drop” were offended by the misplaced minion.
Check out people’s reactions in this Gmail Help Forum.
All in all, Google called “uncle!” and removed the feature before more harm could be done. The moral of the story here is that brands should consider their intended stunts from every angle to determine how they might possibly blow up in their faces.