Is it brand advertising? Yes. Is the product offering real? No way.
April Fools’ Day is an excuse for ad people worldwide to take a break from practicing “truth in marketing” and spin fanciful selling points that stretch credulity to the breaking point, and make even gullible people go “Huh??”
April Fools’ Day spoofs are an advertising tradition and lately they have become more elaborate and expensively produced to capture the interest of social media and go viral. Some ad pitches told with a straight face (wink wink) include Rent-a-Runway wardrobes for dogs, Virgin Australia offering inflight spin classes, Seiko making watches for ninjas, Heinz selling chocolate mayonnaise in the U.K. Funny and in good fun, April Fools’ Day advertising is becoming something that consumers look forward to seeing like Super Bowl commercials. It’s feel-good advertising that make consumers like a brand that enjoys having fun. Here are a few April Fools Day ads from 2018.
It’s the end of the road for the Land Rover Defender, the UK’s original off-road vehicle. Introduced in 1948, the intrepid Defender became the vehicle of choice for safari guides, cattle ranchers and explorers of the rugged outback. But in 2015 increasingly tough emission standards finally put the brakes on production. Before we say goodbye to the iconic 4×4, let’s revisit one of the Land Rover Defender’s best ads, created by London ad agency, RKCR/Y&R, in 2011. The print ad shows an open passport bearing multiple passport stamps that overlap into the shape of a Land Rover making a steep uphill climb. The image embodies the go-anywhere, handle-any-terrain reputation of the brand simply, succinctly, and brilliantly.
Digital billboards are making it possible to connect with people in ways we couldn’t imagine a few years ago. To mark International Women’s Day last weekend, UK-based Women’s Aid worked with WCRS London to launch a billboard campaign to raise awareness of domestic violence. The billboard features an obviously battered woman with two black eye, swelling and cuts on her face. From time to time, she blinks sadly.
Using facial recognition technology, the billboard lets passersby heal the woman’s wounds by looking at her. The more people stop and look directly at the image, the faster her face heals and returns to normal. The facial recognition technology can register exactly how many people are looking at the poster and pick out their faces from the crowd and display them through a live-feed of the street.
What’s black-and-white and impossible to ignore? The graphic identity of 52 North, a hip restaurant and bar in London. UK-based design studio I Love Dust and interior architects 44th Hill used scale and contrast to make us aware of the geometric beauty of typography. The huge letterforms become another shape in a collage of stripes, dots, stars and diamond angles. In 52 North’s restaurant and bar, warm wood furnishings soften the starkness of the letterpress-style mural, but the mural itself becomes like a “menu” of decorative shapes that can be mixed and matched on packaging and printed materials, making each piece look slightly different yet part of the overall brand. It’s a complete identity program with room to grow.
It’s no surprise that a bus shelter constructed entirely from Lego bricks recently emerged in front of a toy store in the UK to celebrate London’s Year of the Bus. Anyone who has ever visited Legoland knows that these colorful interlocking plastic bricks can be built into anything, of any size by people (or maybe primates in general) of any age. Like an atom, the Lego is the basic unit of playful construction. This bus shelter was made from 100,000 Lego bricks by Duncan Titmarsh, the UK’s only certified Lego professional.