I like being famous when it’s convenient for me and completely anonymous when it’s not. —Catherine Deneuve
This is the point where I shout April Fools and laugh that you might have been worried or anxious about what I was publishing this morning. Of course, I’m not revealing any anonymous nudes and, for the most part, that’s not something I would ever been inclined to do. There are a couple of exceptions where I sometimes consider it, putting a picture out there just to see if anyone would notice, but the potential backlash wouldn’t be worth the drama. So no, we’re not revealing anonymous nudes today. We’re keeping our April Fools Day pranks rather innocent, which is more than can be said for some companies.
I had to laugh when one of Google’s early April Fools jokes backfired. They replaced the “Send and Archive” button on their popular Gmail app with a button named Mic Drop. Their intention was that one might use that button for more frivolous purposes. Google explained on their Gmail Blog:
Email’s great, but sometimes you just wanna hit the eject button. Like those heated threads at work, when everyone’s wrong except you (obviously). Or those times when someone’s seeking group approval, but your opinion is the only one that matters (amirite?). Or maybe you just nailed it, and there’s nothing more to say (bam).
When one hit the “mic drop” button, Gmail would send and archive the message, and include with it a cute little animated GIF of a minion dropping a microphone. Cute. All in good fun, right?
Sure, right up to the point someone isn’t paying attention to what they’re doing and hit the button as they’re sending in a job application, or replying to their boss’s request for changes to their work, or, perhaps worst of all, sending condolences for the death of someone’s parent.
Oops. I’m sure the folks at Google wish they could be a little more anonymous right about now. They did remove the button and replace the “send & archive” feature as it was originally intended. Personally, I give the Gmail team a pass. With over 900 million users, it’s really easy to under-estimate just how stupid people can be.
I’m sure there will be plenty of other April Fools pranks that will cause trouble or fall into the “totally tasteless” categories. Coming up with new ways to prank your friends and/or customers without alienating them can be rather challenging. By tomorrow, there are likely to be many more people who might wish they were anonymous. There probably have been more relationships ended and more people lose their jobs because of something they did on this date than any other. Not everyone has a good sense of humor.
Some April Fools jokes are damn near perfect, though. While I’m sure I’ll see plenty over the course of the day, the one I’m enjoying most to this point comes from Chicago ad giant Leo Burnett. Rather than trying to describe it, just take a look:
What makes the joke funny is that it is based on real research and emotion. A Vox poll earlier this year found that 28% of people were considering leaving the country if their preferred presidential candidate doesn’t win the election. Hmmmm, doing some quick math in my head, that would mean somewhere in the neighborhood of 84 million people moving to Canada. I hope Mr. Trudeau has a good sense of humor!
April Fools pranks can be a lot of fun, but there’s really no need to be cruel or insensitive with them. We’ll do some creative hiding to fool the kids, but that’s about it. I’m certainly not going to try and prank the Marine (Kat). Revenge could be painful. As much as anything, a good April Foos joke requires too much planning and effort. I don’t have that much energy.
What we really need are more companies that do April 1 like Krispy Kreme: FREE DONUTS! Although, even they have a catch. Because their stores are franchised, not everyone is participating. At the bottom of the page they provide a list of the locations not participating in the promotion. If you live in California, you’re pretty much screwed. No free donuts for you!
Let’s face it, you knew I wouldn’t actually reveal the identity behind any of my anonymous nudes. You might have hoped for such, if you’re a bit evil, but no one’s pissed me off quite that bad recently. Let’s all get this April off to a great start with a lot of laughter and fun. Just remember to be nice.