April Fools' Day is one of my favorite advertising holidays. It's a magical day when brands manage to be smart, relevant and amusing on their smallest budgets of the year. It's a lesson we could all learn, year round.
With a few exceptions like Google (including YouTube), Virgin and ThinkGeek, which have practically built the day into their business model, most brands are tossing a pittance of their marketing budget toward a daylong prank, just for the fool of it. And there's something beautifully foolish in that, don't you think?
See this year's roundup below. We'll be updating this story throughout the day. Yee-haw!
*UPDATED 9:28 p.m. ET
You're used to having an orange slice in a mug of Blue Moon. Now, the brand has invented the world's first beer-infused oranges.
— Blue Moon Brewing Co (@BlueMoonBrewCo) April 1, 2015
Funny or Die
The comedy site said all its content from now on will be "Dips"—hilarious 1.5-second videos.
The boob-centric chain announced a brother brand, the more cock-centric Roosters.
In the WTF category, U by Kotex made a left handed tampon.
These Lego glasses let you find the pieces you've been missing in that huge pile of Legos.
The British food paste is black no more.
The dating site announced "Match Beyond," a new dating service dedicated to finding a mate for all souls—whether living, dead or somewhere in between.
The pizza chain created a possibly not disgusting Pepperoni Pilsner beer. Because well, beer and pizza do go remarkably well together.
The gym chain unveiled the latest addition to its world of judgment-free fitness—the Reclino-Max.
The brand said it's making a foray into the fragrance market by launching its first scent, "swět."
The cat litter brand made a hilarious litter drone that Cnet actually thinks is a good idea.
Time to sign up your little ones for Baby Mudder!
The ice cream brand has cured brain freeze with an amazing new helmet.
*UPDATED 12:35 p.m. ET
The company has introduced patented genetic testing that lets you target an advertisement directly to someone's genes.
The automaker has invented the Autonomous Office Chair, a seemingly Wall-E inspired chair—equipped with the latest piloted driving technology from Audi—that knows everything you need to do before you do.
The video site has introduced Hulu Pets. Like most of the other pet pranks on this list, it's the same service, just for pets.
This ad agency invented the Creativity Helmet, a tool that "could take the subjectivity out of creativity." The Creativity Helmet will be able to measure whether an idea follows a flurry of brain activity—and objectively judge whether it is a good idea worth following up.
Mmm, selfie shoes. (USA Today fell for this.)
The automaker has done an anti-April Fools' thing through TBWA by listing, in a series of tweets, some unbelievable things it's actually accomplished.
— Nissan (@Nissan) April 1, 2015
The real-estate site is letting you rate more than your room, it now lets you rate roommates with a new spinoff, ROOMer.
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
The school is offering a new major called Feline Recruitment Studies that should be of particular interest to advertisers.
The video site has added a tiny, almost imperceptible musical note on every video that adds Darude's Sandstorm over whatever track you're trying to listen to.
*FIRST BATCH 10:24 a.m. ET
This site, dedicated to dog news and deals, released the first poofume for dogs. It's called Fetch, and it let's you release your inner bitch.
The site has time traveled back to 1999 today to make us realize that partying like it's 1999 wasn't all that awesome.
Analog Watch Co.
The clothing company has replaced all its model photos with derp shots due to its timely acquisition by Derp.com.
The automaker's U.K. division has been partaking in pranking since 2000. This year, they've designed a special rugby mouthguard called the Motor Mouth for famous rugby athlete Chris Robshaw. All that great BMW protection, bite-sized.
The brand has discovered a new kind of coffee called Workday Roast, which stays warm for eight hours straight through chemical heating. Even better, it comes with a ludicrously detailed backstory.
This Boston-based marketing studio has created the Pawculus Rift—the first VR experience for dogs.
Curry for Change
This charity has gotten popular Indian cook and blogger Hari Ghotra to create a Kickstarter for a $10,000 curry made with black truffles and a host of other hideously expensive ingredients. If you fall for it and donate, your dollars will go to Curry for Change.
The pizza chain has created the Domi-NO-Driver, a driverless pizza delivery robot, which is also not terribly far from the future.
How about some magnetic workpants made with crushed Samarium Cobalt magnets, so you can stick your tools anywhere? Even snugly next to your tool.
The town of Ely, Minn., a small town with a big heart for April Fools' Day, did drones best this year. It's banning drones with a Keep Ely Drone Free campaign that includes three Christopher Guest-esque films about two drone hunters, a nosy drone-owning neighbor and a drone-banning sunbather.
The company is now selling "Presurance"—insurance that can predict your next fender bender and alert you up to seven days before it happens. By Leo Burnett Chicago.
This agency created the first sub-sea office in the history of advertising.
This brand wants to lure you into buying a Florida vacation package by announcing that a baby unicorn has been born in Florida. He sorta looks like a donkey crashed into Photoshop.
A 5-Day Cheese Cleanse. Which is just … ew. They promise after you finish you'll feel "not great, like you ate a tub of cheese."
Every year, Google and its various subbrands create enough April Fools' content to justify their own section. Here's this year's Google-splosion.
• Go to com.google to see the entire Google website reversed.
• Google Maps is allowing you to play Pac-Man literally on the maps. And here’s a guide to the best places to chomp those cherries. Google Maps is also warning that Australia will actually be in the Northern Hemisphere by 2055.
• Google's AR game Ingress has also gone Pac-Man.
• Google Japan has introduced the Party Horn keyboard, which lets you key in letters by measuring how hard you blow. They've also announced Google Panda, a search capable Teddy Ruxpin-like stuffed Panda.
• Google Chrome has a new extension that lets you take a reaction selfie for whatever content you're viewing.
• Gmail has created the Smartbox by Inbox by Gmail by Google, the smart new mailbox of tomorrow.
• Google Fiber now has dial-up mode for all of us who missed that wait time and the soothing sounds of a 56k modem.
Groupon U.K. is offering an online course developed by the Pet Auditory Welfare Service (PAWS) to learn dog barking as a language. And Groupon U.S. has created GroUber, a service where you can get a ride in a car driven by a cat.
The automaker is introducing the 2016 HR-V SLF Selfie Edition, featuring hands-free selfie technology with 10 different selfie cams throughout the vehicle.
This booking service created the world's first virtual-reality hotel. Why simply staycation when you can have an entirely virtual vacation?
The sandwich chain has improved on its freaky fast delivery with new sammich delivery drones.
This nonprofit is letting you auto-donate the cars of rude drivers with the Beep Off app. It hopes to educate people about the correct response to road rage.
The home-improvement store released a ridiculous infomercial for a glow-in-the-dark hat for cats. It's not much of a prank because they're actually offering it to the first 2,250 people who actually want a glow-in-the-dark cat hat. They even made a real TV spot that goes with their current confidence campaign. Work by BBDO.
The shopping page has been taken over by memes today, so you can shop meme-inspired fashion. Want that coat the Ikea monkey wears? They've got it.
The menswear brand is offering the world's first downloadable underwear in a video set to the most popular advertising track of all time: Grieg's "Dance in the Hall of the Mountain King."
It's also offering a throwback with MS-DOS for Lumia smartphones.
A new streaming service offered by a few pissed-off New Zealanders who are irritated that NetFlix is coming to Australia first (like everything else). While it's more of a jab at a brand than an actual brand communication, it's pretty dang funny.
The pet-supply store is offering bark- and meow-activated selfie sticks for pets. Check out the page and the video, which includes dogs and cats running around with selfie sticks attached to adorable vests.
The new PlayStation Flow is a pair of goggles and series of sensors that let you explore in-game water environments by actually swimming in a real pool. And it is actually not a horrible idea.
RedBox has created PetBox, a RedBox for all your pets' entertainment needs.
The brand created a new can that moos every time you squirt some out. It's so real, it moos.
Got dirty carpets and a dirty mind? Rug Doctor can take care of one of those things. They're recommending you do it at least once a year, doctor's orders. And for April Fools' Day, they're switching out all their banner ads to ask if you want to watch a couple do it.
Say hello to the Samsung Galaxy BLADE Edge: Chef's Edition. It's a smartphone that's also a meat cleaver and has a meat thermometer stylus.
Apparently in a culinary mood, Samsung also introduced Gourmet Mode for the GalaxyS6 and GalaxyS6Edge.
— Samsung Mobile (@SamsungMobile) April 1, 2015
"Grandma" and "Bedtime" are actually cautionary April Fools' PSAs for the damage you can cause if you try to pull off April Fools' shenanigans while hungry.
The liquor announced #SoCo2Go, its revolutionary drone delivery method that delivers comfort right to your door.
The telecom has created Pets Unleashed. Switch meow to connect with your pet.
This site goes all out creating fake products for April Fools' Day every year—and then actually goes further and creates the most popular ones. This year's inventions:
• The Steam-Powered Gaming Cabinet
• Clue, the Game of Thrones edition
• The Power Wheels Mad Max Dessert Drifter for your favorite post-apocalyptic munchkin
• EnCounter, the wearable interactive quest bracer
• Groot Beer and the Rocket Fuel energy shot
• The Voltron Cat Condo
• The GOT Hodor Travel Buddy
• And narcissism comes full circle with the DoItYourSelfie 360 Selfie Ring.
Scroll down for don't miss videos for most of these items.
Uber and Tinder
The BBQ sauce brand is putting the high-fructose corn syrup and preservatives back into its no-crap, no-additive sauces to compete with the big boys.
Check out the new Narwhal Swim Cap, the first high-tech innovation inspired by the hydrodynamics of the narwhal, the "unicorn of the sea."
The airline announced nonstop flights to Branson, Mo. And check out Sir Richard's extra announcement about how Virgin America is moving its headquarters to Branson.
This brand invented a showerhead so revolutionary that it needs no water. It's the Waterless Showerhead!
A new service called Save Time For U (or #STFU) lets you send annoying calls you don't want to take directly to Zappos' legendary customer service reps.
It's the ultimate online fitness pawty: Zumba for Dogs! The pawty isn't real, but you can upload a photo of your pooch with #Zumba4Dogs for a chance to win a BarkBox.