April Fools’ Day is almost here and, at more usual times, that means a bevy of brands taking their usual “fun” jars.
To those brands, please: Please don’t. Not this year.
Unlike the coronavirus that moves around the world, it kills and kills thousands of people. Please. We don’t just need jokes, the fake product, the corny nonsense.
More than 3 million Americans lost their jobs last week. This means that some of the brands that normally make these so-called jars drive people away. Pretty much everyone is scared.
Things are bad! They got worse! In all likelihood, they will continue to get worse!
You see these jars – if you have enough forgiveness to consider them “tanks.” Last year, for example, we got “Petlexa” from Amazon, Whopper toothpaste, and chocolate mayonnaise from Heinz. And those seem to be the good pranks of the brand.
At its best, these kinds of things make you laugh a little. Usually, these emerge as an obvious ploy from a brand that is trying to convince you that they are a person.
So often, these things go wrong.
“The jokes at April Fools in general, they’re the bottom of the barrel,” said Ed Zitron, CEO of media relations firm EZPR.
But in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, it’s a pretty bad idea to eliminate some “fun” fake stuff. And to be clear, if you are a queer individual or someone stuck at home wanting to kill time on a harmless April Fools’ Day prank: don’t hesitate. We’re talking about brands. So if you are a PR or branding thinking of making a big joke on April 1, here are some simple tips: Just stay home and not.
Every day on Twitter there is a main character. The goal is never it
– maple cocaine (@maplecocaine) January 3, 2019
“Any brand stupid enough to do this will be the main character of Twitter for today,” Zitron said.
The internet has grown a bit tired of the shtick where co-opting a humanity equals. A company that is playing a “joke” to try to rake in cash or attention during the coronavirus crisis is almost certainly not going well.
We’re a week away from the worst day of the year: April Fools’ Day. I sincerely hope ~ the brands ~ don’t do what they usually do.
– Josh Stermberb (@joshsternberg) March 25, 2020
Anecdotally, there seems to be fewer pitches about April Fools ‘Day hitting journalists’ inboxes. Perhaps this is a good sign brand is withdrawing from the holiday, considering the deadly, scary pandemic. Zitron is uncertain, guess there is a brand that will try to combine April Fools and the virus into a truly awful one.
“It’s going to be something around the virus, something that’s very myopic,” he said. “Then some dipshit would say ‘no such bad press’ … I want to be clear that there is something bad publicity.”
Zitron says people in PR often lose their sense of reality and try to force an angle no matter what the topic. If someone tried to do that with coronavirus this April Fools, that would be a terrible idea.
“What I’m not sure is how insensitive it can be,” Zitron said. “We have the potential of a Barry Bonds of insensitive PR.”