April Fools’ Day 2012: Best of the Brand Hoaxes

Google, YouTube, Skype lead this year's pranks

Sadly, for those marketers who build April Fools' Day into their plans, it falls on a Sunday this year, so most of you will probably be reading about their shenanigans on Monday. After the jump, it's our yearly roundup of April Fools' Day pranks by brands:


• Google has been the winner for the past several years, and it's won again by teaming with Nascar and creating Google Racing. The effort pimps its latest technology offering, the self-driving car, and even stars co-founder Sergey Brin. But wait, that's not all! Google Japan's maps have gone 8-bit for NES. In Australia, Google has announced Street Roo kangaroo-operated street cams. Gmail is offering Gmail Tap, which lets you enter Gmail in Morse code from your smartphone. Oh, and check the Really Advanced Search.

     •  YouTube is offering the YouTube collection on DVD, which mocks all that former, inferior technology we used to rely on for information. Add the feedback pack, and mail your comments to the video's creators.

• Check out new Skype for String, another throwback, low-tech solution.

• Flickr is also taking your photography back in time.

• Lynx (aka Axe) body spray has created an app that lets you spray yourself with your phone.


After the jump: Think Geek, Virgin, Honda and more.

• Every April Fools' Day, Think Geek test drives insane products, and if you like them enough, it makes them a reality. This year, you can enjoy Hungry Hungry Hippos for iPad, a technomancer wizard hoodie, Minecraft Marshmallow Creeps, and an Admiral Ackbar singing bass that mocks McDonald's famous Filet-O-Fish commercial.

• Virgin has announced Virgin Volcanic and says Tom Hanks will be accompanying Richard Branson on the first journey to the center of the Earth.

• Honda is offering the new Anti-Theft Negotiator, which negotiates with car thieves.

• BMW has a series of newspaper ads (yes, newspaper ads) and press releases announcing BMW's driverless running coach, an offer to build your own Mini from 29,762 parts, the Mini Camper, and the Mini Amphibious Yatchsman. See Mini's past gags here.

• Peugeot has a cooler car gag, with a nice video for its new mood paint. The color changes with your mood.

The Register is reporting that Apple has patented the rectangle. Which goes well with Stuff.tv's report of a 42-inch iPad.

• Hawk and Gamble has announced Assassin's Creed for the Kinect.

• NPR is claiming that tweets will now be 133 characters.

• And what April Fools' Day would be complete without someone suggesting an alien invasion? Thanks, Digital Journal, for boring us.

• And finally, completing the list of low-tech products from high-tech marketers, Microsoft's Windows Phone proudly introduces the Windows Pager.

Also, check out some classic hoaxes from past years.

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@rebeccacullers Rebecca Cullers is a contributor to Adweek.