Ah, that time of year again… April Fool’s Day – when PRs everywhere get high with a burst of adrenaline, quickly followed by rising trepidation and then quite frequently… relief that they didn’t spend too much of the client’s money on an attempt to get into an online round up, where someone might just be taking the piss out of you.
You know how it works. It’s the time when food, drink and hospitality companies come up with new flavours or a new way of delivery. These attempts leave me a touch cold – like Deliveroo skydiving delivery, BK launching Whopper Toothpaste and Baylis and Harding launching roast beef and Yorkshire pudding hand wash. It’s the time when Paddy Power comes up with yet another painfully forced stunt that just doesn’t hack it, as they seem to forget they have one every other week of the year. It’s the time when big brands can spend shedloads with assets put together with seriously high production values in photography to gifs, videos, outdoor and soundtracks. It’s the time when PRs and clients alike can get a tad lazy. Argos launches its first store on Mars, Pizza Hut launches a scratch ‘n’ sniff menu and hotels.com launches a range of hotel scents. Funny how you feel like you have seen these stories before – you may well have done, otherwise… it’s merely predictability.
And if you are looking for this year’s trend – it’s animals. On the basis that if you can get a picture of a pug or a fat feline in a jacket and hat combo into your story, then you’ve got a chance on social. There’s been plenty this time around – protein for puppies, Puppy Mudder, penguin walking, sodastreams and Amazon Echo for dogs.
But I don’t want to be a misery – as PRs, we need fun and laughter to build warmth for our brands and sometimes to build our relationships with our media contacts who are brilliant to play ball with us and enter the true spirit of what it’s about.
So the ones I loved this year?
I loved the fur watches idea from the Analog Watch Co, simply as I can see people genuinely wanting this product.
With Clerkenwell still chocca with hipsters(or are they called something else now?) I loved Sun Life’s £3 a month beard insurance product.
As the big scale attempts go – hats off to B & Q’s annual White Cliff’s Makeover – the icon in Brexit Britain makes it bang on with a soft and classy touch.
But my favourite theme, as it played off the news agenda and delivered a gentle political satire, rather than the punch in the face pastiche we are getting accustomed to – was the news about George Osborne’s new jobs.
Top of the bill this year for me was The Guardian’s spot-on spoof on the former Chancellor and new Editor of the Evening Standard launching his own fashion line for business people… Georgio.
That was joined by another cracker from The Stage, announcing Osborne as the new Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe. Simple, amusing and goading – love it.
And finally… you have to go with Northern Quilted for their play on the fit bit craze. It’s called uSit and measures your daily movements – it’s basically an online poo tracker or as the wags at Droga5 called it: “the world’s first biometric bathroom device.” Really nicely delivered – they should be flushed with pride.