Fooled Ya! Brands’ April Fools’ Day Jokes

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Happy April Fools’ Day! Some of the better branded pranks today, starting with YouTube‘s 100th anniversary nod to the best viral videos — sorry, “pictures” — a century ago, with a wink to their modern-day inspiration. Also part of the gag: vintage merchandise and a “1911” button (above right) at the bottom of videos today, turning them into silent films with an old-timey scratchy, sepia-toned look.

Below, check out more April Fooling Around from BMW, Ford, Groupon, Ikea, KFC, LinkedIn, Nike, Starbucks, Toshiba, Virgin, Whole Foods, and more — and let us know what you think of it all by commenting on our debate.[more]

YouTube’s parent, Google, is pulling out the stops today. In addition to announcing Comic Sans as its official font, it also unveiled a fake product enhancement: with Gmail Motion, a Kinect-inspired suite of email shortcuts:

Also: Google is hiring

Nike reveals the secret of Nike Air (tip-off: that’s comedian David Koechner, also in Denny’s new campaign):

Toshiba goes one better than 3D glasses with a 3D monocle (“so real, be careful what you watch”):

BMW fooled European auto fans with a tricked out M3 pickup, while a half-page “Royal Edition” M3 Coupe ad in The Guardian directs inquiries to “pauline.yorleg@bmw.co.uk” (among other April Fools’ jokes in the UK involving the upcoming royal nuptials):

Groupon claims it has trademarked the term “April Fools’ Day,” rebranding it to “Groupon Presents April Fools’ Day™”:

Kodak is offering photo tattoos (“Must be at least 21 years old to purchase”):

…and a Relationshiffft APP (short for Automated Person Purge) to remove unloved ones:

Starbucks unveiled a mobile pour app:

Nando’s restaurants debunked a #ripnandos Twitter rumor that it’s closing:

Check out the PlayMobil Apple store play set, complete with mini Steve Jobs and an optional line pack with a Segway-riding Steve Wozniak (devised by ThinkGeek, whose other April Fools’ items includes an edible iPhone case):

KFC riffs on its bun-less Double Down sandwich with an all-bun “less chickeny” sandwich (via):

Windstream Communications announced WinLive, “the world’s first age-inhibiting serum”:

Whole Foods plays Cupid, part of its homepage mockover today:

Ryanair, known for some outlandish moves, fooled (or was it real?) the public with its “child-free flights” news:

Ford Focus spokespuppet “Doug” posted this video message:

Ikea Australia came up with the Hudstol dog high chair, featuring built-in feeding bowls and a hole for your pup’s tail:

LinkedIn came up with a waggish list of “People You May Know”:

HMG Paints, the UK’s biggest independent paint manufacturer, slyly announced a line of 3D paints.

Master prankster Richard Branson announced that Virgin had bought Pluto with plans to reinstate it as a planet:

And at least one brand fooled the public with the wrong message — GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons’ elephant-shooting video was at first thought to be a pre-April Fool’s Day stunt, but when it turned out to be real he was attacked by PETA and others. Did he care?

Any other noteworthy stunts today? Drop a line to tips@brandchannel.com and we’ll update our gallery! And don’t forget to weigh in on this week’s debate: “Branded April Fools’ Day Pranks — Smart Marketing or Annoying?”

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