American Eagle Outfitters: AEO Skinny Skinny

While a super skinny jean isn’t news, AEO caused a stir with the Skinny Skinny design it started promoting in March. The brand released a promotional video that started out predictably enough--twentysomethings talking nonsense while DJing or skateboarding--but the jeans looked a little unusual…

American Eagle Outfitters: AEO Skinny Skinny

…which was because these were spray-on jeans. After the stunt circulated long enough to generate reams of media coverage (and over 1.3 million YouTube views), an AEO marketing exec confessed on Today, “We just wanted to have fun and have fun with our fans…It was a good opportunity to kind of push it from a brand standpoint and the response has been incredible.”

Ikea Hundstol

Because your dog definitely deserves to eat in the same comfort in which you sleep and also keep your folded laundry. In 2012, that furniture mecca for twentysomethings, Ikea, put out an ad touting the all-new Hundstol--a high chair for canines.

Scope Bacon

In an early stab at April Fools’ Day 2013, Scope recently released an ad touting its new bacon-flavored mouthwash. Everyone loves bacon. (Just ask Ron Swanson.) People love bacon so much in fact that bacon-flavored mouthwash just about crosses the threshold of credulity (and Scope parent P&G has gone whole hog with the gag, even creating a website for the product and not denying its existence). But not quite.

Kodak Tattoos

In 2011, Kodak offered a service that flipped the script on digital printing methods: The company ostensibly offered to tattoo photos on their customers. Guess it depends on what the photo is of…

Honda Antitheft Negotiator

In 2012, Honda rolled out an ad demonstrating its new feature of dissuading would-be thieves from stealing cars--partly by pointing out other cars the thieves might want to steal.

Google "Click-to-Teleport" Extension

Each year, Google unveils new features on April 1. Never believe any of these. One of the gems from 2012 was an app that supposedly transported viewers through space and time to some other destination. Not yet, my friends. Not yet.

Groupon offers tickets to Royal Wedding

Groupon offers some pretty exclusive deals--just not this exclusive. In 2011, the company offered a sale on tickets to the Royal Wedding. No word yet on how many disappointed hopefuls actually tried to buy tickets.

Sony VAIO Q, the World's Smallest Ultrabook

In 2012, Sony introduced us all to VAIO Q, the world’s smallest Ultrabook. At 0.75" x 1.25 the fictitious Q series would be small enough to fit in your pocket.

Build Your Own Mini

In 2012, Mini offered an outrageous deal for budget-minded fans: a build-it-yourself Mini Countryman. The company offered to send over one new part a month, at a low price, until the car was complete.

NASCAR + Google = Google Racing

In 2012, Google announced a partnership with NASCAR to help self-driving vehicles compete in the world of stock car racing.

BMW Coach

Fitness nuts who happen to drive BMWs rejoiced in 2012 when the company announced it had created a self-driving Coach mode, wherein a voice barked out encouragement as the car followed its exercising driver.

BMW Coach

Another detail from the fake BMW ad.

Assassin's Creed for Kinect

There are some games that require physicality and are more fun to play in a group setting, thereby demanding a version of Kinect. Assassin’s Creed is not one of them.

Warner Brothers and Metro U.K. present the edible newspaper

In support of the 40th anniversary edition of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on DVD, Warner Brothers planted a fake story in the U.K. paper Metro that the paper itself was rolling out an edible edition in 2011. As you might recall, in Wonka’s factory, unexpectedly edible objects abound.

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When Marketing's A Joke: 13 Boffo April Fools' Stunts

April Fools’ Day pranks are not just for friends and family. Here are some of the best recent examples of brands hoping you were born yesterday.

On April 1, 2010, a bunch of New Yorkers were made into fools. A rumor began circulating that day that the near-mythic West Coast eatery In-N-Out Burger was coming to New York. A fresh sign adorning a building on 22nd Street and Broadway assured hopeful pedestrians that they were standing at the future site of a burger joint that lets diners order animal-style. Unfortunately, nobody gleefully sharing the news seemed to realize it was April Fools’ Day.

In the case of the Great NYC Burger Hoax, In-N-Out was not the instigator. While nobody stepped up to officially claim responsibility, the company itself categorically denied involvement. There are plenty of other brands, however, who are not above pulling the wool over consumer eyes for one day of the year. In fact, Google does so every year (here’s two of this year’s) gags. The keys to a triumphant April Fools’ Day prank are: even if it’s outrageous, there’s at least some element of believability; and the gag doesn’t leave consumers feeling cheated.

Look through the slide show above for 13 examples of brands that got it right, such as Sony, who presented the computer you see below as the world’s smallest Ultrabook on April 1, 2012.

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