Over the years, April Fools’ Day has provided us with very entertaining marketing and creative advertising. From the unveiling of new (fake) products, to special (fake) promotions, many large and small companies develop promotions that appear to be just possible enough that consumers believe it.
Like the Toshiba Shibasphere. Where Toshiba announced a spherical game console with no controllers or cameras. Instead the console uses infrared motion detectors to capture gamers every move. The game’s slogan was “Gaming so real, it’s unreal.” Then they produced a 1:40 video commercial that is very entertaining, furthering the concept of the fake product. The video goes viral and Toshiba extends its brand marketing.
So each year, April Fools’ Day provides the creative marketers with an opportunity to extend their marketing message without necessarily having to buy additional advertising to get more exposure. As we see with Toshiba, there can be some costs associated with production of some of the elements, but those are variable depending on your idea. These days, you could introduce a fake promotion or product via social media for very little cost, if any. It all depends with how far you want to take the concept. Either way, this concept can be part of a good marketing strategy.
This year, one of the advertisers we work with came up with a very creative concept that was extremely successful for them and fit perfectly into their marketing plan for Washington DC. The company is Kars4Kids. Kars4Kids.org encourages consumers to donate their old vehicles in exchange for a tax donation. The funds raised from those donated cars goes directly to programs that make a positive impact on children’s lives.
We asked them to provide us the details on what they did and the motivation and goals behind the campaign. Here is what they had to say:
With a catchy jingle that radio listeners across the country can sing along with, Kars4Kids is no stranger to radio advertising. But this year, the nonprofit, which funds educational and youth programs via car donation, tried its hand at something new: an April Fools prank. Of course, being Kars4Kids, the prank was broadcast to millions of radio listeners nationwide with a spoof of the Kars4Kids jingle. With the iconic phone number changed to 1-855-Kids-4-Kars and ending “donate your KID today!” The new spot directed listeners to a new kid donation website, www.kids4kars.org.
But the Kids4Kars campaign, which spread rapidly online, was much more than just a funny joke. Citing a study by the Boston Medical Center, Kars4Kids hoped to bring awareness to the damage parents’ usage of devices, while with their children, can have on their children and their relationships. A full 73 percent of parents pay more attention to their mobile phones than to their children during meals; a time traditionally reserved for family and focused conversation. The Kids4Kars campaign encouraged parents to ignore their devices during times reserved for their children, such as dinner and bedtime.
It was an innovative move for a nonprofit with integrating radio, digital and social media into an awareness campaign launched via an April Fools prank. In addition, it seems to have paid off. Besides generating a fair amount of media coverage, the Kids4Kars website attracted thousands of visitors and hundreds of actual callers. Most importantly, Kars4Kids’ message resonated with parents nationwide, hopefully sparking a change in their behavior and interaction with their children. That, after all, besides a good laugh, was the true purpose of the campaign.
If you're looking to really step up your Washington DC marketing game then you'll definitely want to check this out: