So last night I was working up the post announcing the winning name for the Boxman Studios restaurant contest. Here’s what happened – we primarily used social media to help build community for the brand, and then enlisted this community to name the restaurant. After paring the names down to five on Wednesday, and offering justifications for our thinking, I now had to write a post announcing the winner.
Only, the announcement was coming a week after our original announcement date because of some delays in legal. And it just so happened that the new announcement date was April 1st. So here I am at the end of the day, sitting in my Lazy Boy with the laptop about to crank out some work, when it dawns on me – tomorrow is April 1st.
I’m not a big prankster. The coolest (or rather, cruelest) April Fools’ scheme I ever devised was the year I hid my girlfriend’s car (two blocks away) after she was out drinking hard the night before. I had to report to Air National Guard duty early the next morning (a Saturday), and didn’t wake her on my way out. A few hours later, she called me. Frantic. I laughed my ass off. Good times. She eventually married me.
I decided to write a fake announcement for the Boxman contest and then emailed the client for permission to post it. The first thing I did this morning was run to my email. He agreed. I tweaked the post so that the ‘reveal’ was located a few lines below the last line of the body of the post, and hit ‘publish.’ It didn’t take long for people to start reacting to the fake name. How dare we completely change the rules last minute? And with such a bad name! Other people got it.
I contacted everyone who tweeted anything like this and instructed them to view the *whole* post (since the ‘reveal’ link is below the body of the post). I was laughing my ass off. After all, it was a perfectly innocuous story, and even included a couple of clues (Punky? Really?) A few minutes later, Google’s own name change started circulating on Twitter. I thought ours was better (though theirs received more publicity, of course…)
Here’s what I learned from this prank.
1) It’s great to have clients who have a sense of humor (thanks, David.)
2) There are many people who are too smart to be fooled, and who don’t like being proven otherwise.
3) If you’re really going to do an April Fools’ prank, wait until 11:50 p.m. on April 1st because everyone else does theirs ‘First Thing’ too, and no one would suspect it so late.
If you didn’t scroll down far enough in the fake post, here’s the post with the actual winner