OP-ED: Should Companies Participate In April Fool’s Day Pranks?

Article by Sarah Gelbard | esPResso Committee Member

The recent trend of companies engaging in April Fool’s Day jokes has grown significantly within the past ten years. In this age of social media, now more than ever, companies are almost expected and encouraged to go along with these pranks. The reception from the public does vary; some go well and some horribly backfire.

This day can go from April Fools to April fool very quickly depending on the severity of the prank. April Fool’s Day pranks have been going on for years, but when companies become active participants in these pranks it can alter the way consumers view a company or organization. A company’s reputation can be affected negatively, and in Google’s case (which you can read more about here)  the PR team had to send out a viral apology to billions of Gmail users, which was not only embarrassing, but also time consuming.

Source: T-mobile

There are, however, instances in which April Fool’s Day pranks go over well. According to CNBC, T-Mobile released “Binging Headgear” as a joke so that users could stream their favorite videos handsfree. The fine-print on the photo above reads, “4 out of 5 dentists recommend binging while brushing. That 1 dentist is an idiot.” This joke was used to promote T-mobile’s new free video streaming services, where users can stream videos without using their data.

Overall, there is definitely a time and place for jokes. Before engaging in the festivities companies should consider the repercussions of their jokes, and take careful time to consider how they will be received. Companies need to be more aware of the consequences of these pranks, and decide if it is really worth it in the long run.

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