April Fools - Valspar Tartan Paint, Tesco's trampoline aisles, Pizza Hut's Scratch & Sniff menus & more

You may have noticed some strange announcements in today's news, of course its 1 April and brands everywhere have been trying to make April Fools of us all.

To celebrate here's a roll-call of some of today's best April Fools campaigns that raised a smile at Drum HQ.

Confused.com

Since launching the exclusive Brian the Robot toy demand has been so great that Confused.com has become the largest toy manufacturer in Wales.

20 per cent of the 240-strong work force has now been switched to making toys full time, supplementing those made externally.

"When we launched the Brian toy, our initial shipment of toys was snapped up within weeks and we had to come up with a solution to keep up with demand. To now be the biggest toy manufacturer in Wales is brilliant and it’s a testament to the hard work of the guys here," said Jong Russell, marketing director at Confused.com.

"It’s great having so many staff making toys; they love Brian just as the much as the public do. We’ve offered them extra training in their new roles and they have really thrown themselves into the job and the toys are flying off the shelves. Long may it continue."

Pizza Hut

Can you detect the difference between BBQ Chicken Wings and Garlic Bread with Cheese and Bacon? Do you know your Meat Feasts from your Hawaiians? And, surely, we should all be able to identify the sweet smell of the new Cookie Dough dessert?

With no images or words to describe menu items, Pizza Hut's latest innovation, the Scratch and Snff menu, invites customers to succumb to their senses and select their meal based on smell alone.

Kath Austin, head of marketing at Pizza Hut Restaurants, explained: "We always strive to excite and innovate the customer experience – this is at the heart of our brand. Over the last year we’ve redesigned restaurants nationwide, developed the world’s first Subconscious Menu and launched a brand new menu with items that have never been offered by Pizza Hut Restaurants before.

"We’re thrilled to be launching our latest unique menu innovation, the Scratch and Sniff menu. Who nose where it will lead?"

SunLife

Financial services company SunLife has announced the launch of a revolutionary new beard insurance product to cater to the growing number of bearded men in the UK who want to protect their facial hair and personal identity.

From just £3 a month, SunLife Beard Insurance provides protection against damage, malicious damage and travel cover.

The new product aims to modernise and broaden the remit of the protection industry, bringing it up to speed with the changing needs of modern consumers.

SunLife, head of brand and communications, Ian Atkinson, said: "We insure our homes, our cars, our pets and our lives, but why not other things that matter - like the way we look? We’ve all heard of celebrities insuring their assets, whether that’s Taylor Swift’s legs or Bruce Springsteen’s vocal chords, and there’s no reason why this type of personal insurance shouldn’t be made available to the average man on the street.

"We’re launching now because the popularity of beards has never been higher. 82 per cent of women believe that bearded men look more masculine and sales of beard grooming products grew by 92 per cent during 2014, proving that there’s a significant market out there for beard insurance.

“SunLife is a brand that’s never afraid to lead the way, so we’re delighted to be the first national provider of this kind of product, which we believe will prove attractive to anyone who’s attached to their beard."

Domino's

Domino's Pizza UK has unveiled the world's first driverless pizza delivery vehicle.

Customers placing orders through the Domino's website and mobile app will soon have the option for delivery by the Domi-No Driver, a fleet of driverless pods rolling out across the UK from today (Wednesday 1 April).

Using GPS the Domi-No Driver can track a customer's location - at home or on-the-go - once an order is placed. Whilst in motion, the Domi-No Driver's H.U.N.G.A.R system (Hunger Detection and Ranging) will detect real-time obstacles, ensuring maximum road safety. Upon arrival the Domi-No Driver will send a notification to the customer's smartphone or tablet with a unique passcode to access the Heatwave 2.0 order comparment and collect their pizza.

Due to its patented technology the vehicle can carry 400 per cent more pizza with 100 per cent less driver.

Domino's Pizza UK marketing director, Simon Wallis, remarked: "Whilst driverless vehicles once sounded like science fiction, it’s now within our grasp – and harnessing this innovation for pizza delivery opens up a new world of opportunities for us. Working with the latest technology helps to ensure our customers have the best possible experience, so we’re really excited to bring these amazing vehicles to streets across the UK."

Tesco

Tesco has put a spring in shoppers steps with the introduction of trampoline aisles to help Brits reach the top shelf.

Taking the weekly shop to a whole new level the supermarket has worked with Lucy Mecklenburgh, ex-TOWIE favourite and star of the BBC's Tumble, to develop the bouncy aisles, as well as providing trampoline training to Tesco colleague.

Mecklenburgh commented: "The bouncy aisles are not only incredibly helpful, but also add so much fun to everyday grocery shopping. On Tumble, the trampoline routines were always my favourite, so I love the new aisles. I think people will jump at the chance to use them and I can’t wait for them to be installed in my local Tesco."

Director of aisle operations at Tesco, Daisy O'Farllop, added: "Introducing bouncy aisles is both a practical and fun solution to help our customers reach products on the top shelves, as well as speed up their shopping trip.

"Tesco’s patented Spring Stepper Shelf Solutions will be fitted to the floor, running alongside the shelves, leaving space in the middle of the aisle for customers to walk down with trolleys. We initially planned to trial it in one store, but feedback has been so positive that we’re now scheduling a full roll-out of the bouncy aisles across the UK over the next 12 months."

Valspar Paint

Valspar has created the world's first Tartan Roller so that DIY enthusiasts across the UK and Ireland can finally decorate their walls with the popular pattern, currently riding high on the fashion agenda.

The battery operated Valspar Tartan Roller features a removable paint cartridge with seperate chambers, designed to house enough paint to cover a feature wall. For larger surface areas, external tubes can be attached to each chamber to draw paint direct from the tin.

A single button activates the paint flow with a handy spirit level in the handle ensuring lines stay straight. A number of different tartans are available form Royal Stewart to MacIver.

Scott Macdonald, product manager of Valspar Europe, commented: "Being from Scotland, I am incredibly proud to be involved in such a pioneering project that is set to change the face of interiors across the world. There has been a lot of trial and error, but we think we have finally managed to crack it with the unique roller and innovative paint combination."

Barclaycard

Barclaycard has rolled out Barclaycard Anything to radicually transform the way people pay for goods and services allowing them to turn any of their belongings into a way to pay, using the same technology found in contacless cards.

Barclaycard Anything has been launched in response to a deluge of requests from Barclaycard customers looking for new contacless ways to pay.

As a leader in contactless payments Barclaycard's self-service contactless activation kiosks will be set up across the UK to allow contactless chips to be embeded into personal belongings, turning anything from an instrument to a baby-carrier into a payment device.

"Since we made wristbands, gloves and donkey rides contactless last year we’ve been inundated with requests from customers asking us to make all sorts of things into a way to pay. We want to give consumers the ability to pay in the way they want so, with innovation at the core of our business, we’ve developed purpose-built kiosks where they can turn anything into a contactless payment device," said Katherine Whitton, cheif marketing officer at Barclaycard.

"We're delighted to announce that, after a successful trial, we’re now launching nationwide and you'll start seeing our kiosks popping up in town centres near you. Contactless technology is the fastest, easiest and most secure way to make purchases for £20 and under. Who needs cash when you can buy a coffee using your favourite handbag, pay for your nappies using your baby’s pram or even grab a pint in the pub with your wedding ring?"

FloridaTix.com

A top wildlife park in Florida has welcomed the world's first baby unicorn.

The new addition is the first successful unicorn to be bred using DNA taken from a horse and a rhino. Once old enough the Unifoal will be moved to the Magic Forest, a specially built habitat for the park's mystical creatures including fairies, centaurs and a growing gnome population.

Florida attractions ticket specialist, FloridaTix.com, had this to say on the birth: "We’re thrilled to see that such a magical creature has been born in Florida. It’s only fitting that the world’s first unicorn be born in one of the magical destinations in the world! We anticipate a lot of interest to see the little miracle and we’re working very closely with the park to build a package that allows visitors to see and interact with it."

BMW

BMW has taken its rugby partnership to the next level introducing a range of mouth guards for players.

With rugby international Chris Robshaw making approximately 18 tackles per match BMW has developed the RU Series - a new line of mouth guards offering player the same impact protection as BMW drivers.

Rigorously tested at the highest level, the mouth guard is entirely made of ethylene-propylen-dien rubber - standard protection in the door seals of all BMW models with the interior of the guard using tyre tread technology and grips. BMW's signature kindey grille lies in betweet the front incisors, acting as an elegant respiration vent.

Atheist Shoes

The Meaningful Shoe Company, makers of Atheist Shoes, has launched 'Walkies Forever' - a service by which the owners of dying pets can have them preserved, for posterity, as a pair of shoes.

The idea came from Atheist Shoes customer Tina Brown from Portland, Oregon, who approached the company and asked if they could help preserve her pug Frodo, who was expected to die of a rare heart condition.

The Meaningful Shoe Company obligied and six weeks after Frodo's death he returned home as a pair of very comfortable shoes.

"At first we were a little weirded-out by the request… but we felt a deep empathy for Tina’s impending loss and, knowing we had the skills to meet her needs, we decided to help," explained founder of The Meaningful Shoe Company, David Bonney.

"It was an honour to turn Frodo into a pair of shoes. And the experience was so moving and gratifying, that we’d now like to extend the service to all pet owners. If we can make help pet owners better handle the loss of a beloved animal, then we’re happy."

The Walkies Forever team ask pet owners book the service in advance of their pet's passing, so that they may get to know the animal and prepare it for its transition. Once the animal has passed the owner can send the whole body, in a specially provided box, to Portugal, where The Meaningful Shoe Comapny respectfully tan the animal's pelt.

To turn your pet into a pair of shoes costs €4,200 with an off-the-shelf pair, made from other people's pets, starting from €250.

Churchill

Fans of Churchill the insurance hound will soon be able to see their nodding hero star in his very own movie.

At present storylines and locations for the film are being kept strictly under wraps however, it has been made public that the film will be quintessentially British and will feature numerous iconic UK locations.

Churchill head of marketing, Lucy Brooksbank, commented: "We’ve listened to Churchill’s fans and made the dream come true for Churchill to take part in his own adventure story, which will appeal to adults and kids alike. Churchill Insurance is one of Britain’s most well-known brands with its famous talking dog character at its helm, so what could be better than seeing his adventures come to life?"

Foyles

National Bookseller Foyles has announced an exciting new addition to its range of book-related gifts and stationary - the boo!mark.

Using patented Snornar technology the boo!mark monitors breathing patterns to detect any tell-tell snoring of heavy breathing before waking readers from their slumber with a gentle 'boo!'.

Available with a range of volume settings, designed to rouse even the heaviest of sleepers, the boo!mark is available in store from today.

Abel Dos Santos, non-book buyer at Foyles, commented: "The boo!mark by Foyles is perfect because it solves a genuine problem. We all know someone who falls asleep when they read, and even the best page-turner can’t stop you eventually drifting off when you’re reading at night. boo!mark by Foyles will help readers to keep alert through more of their favourite books."

Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone is changing the way humans interact with dogs forever with the launch of Rosetta Stone Dog, allowing dog owners to do away with ruff translations and communicate fully with their pets.

After a short, easy-to-follow course in canine conversation, pet owners will finally get the chance to chat to their pooch as they stroll through the countryside, and put an end to common pet dilemmas.

The new addition to Rosetta Stone's catalogue is currently available to a select group of beta testers and although only available in English the course will soon be launched in other languages including French and German to give dog lovers across the globe the chance to really connect with man's best friend.

Gustaf Nordback, managing director and general manager Brazil, at Rosetta Stone, said: "Today is a groundbreaking day, and the famous relationship between man and dog will never be the same. Many pet owners will admit in private to talking to their pets, but now you can actually hold a conversation with your dog, and understand what it wants.

"With Rosetta Stone Dog, we can now connect with our pooches in a deep and meaningful way, whilst catering to their many needs like never before."

Hailo

Hailo has continued its crusade to help city dwellers get around more easily with the launch of new feature - 'Piggyback'.

Using the new function from their smartphones Hailo customers will be able to call on a specially trained human piggyback carrier to transport them to their chosen destination.

With the ability to dart in between traffic, Hailo's Piggybackers have been recruited for their athleticism as well as their knowlegde of the city. Piggybackers come in a range of sizes and shapes to suit all customer needs.

Hailo’s head of personal transportation product, Olaf Spirls, explained: “Our latest technology represents our continued promise to find new ways to transport people around the city quickly, conveniently and reliably. With with our latest feature, we really do have our passengers’ backs.”

Lori Floaps, Hailo Piggybacker, added: “Hailo approached me as I’m well known locally for giving neighbours a piggyback to the shops. I’m a real people person and I find giving piggybacks a lovely way to get to know someone, plus it keeps me fit.”

Specsavers

Specsavers has come to the rescue of squinting dogs and near-sighted cats announcing its range of glasses for pets, with six styles and in different sizes.

Jo Delbridge, head of pet product development at Specsavers, said: "There are those in the business who feel we're barking up the wrong tree, but our market research indicates that the new glasses are purrfect.’

A contact lens range is rumoured for later in the year.

Notonthehighstreet.com

Curated marketplace notonthehighstreet.com has annouced The Happy Hatchery as its new brand partner, just in time for Easter.

Ahead of this weekend The Happy Hatchery has launched personalised, fertilised eggs which have been lovingly cared for and are ready to hatch on Easter Day (Sunday 5 April).

All eggs are delivered in specially equipped incubator vans and bubble wrapped for their protection (hence the need for slightly more expensive P&P). The eggs will arrive at your doorstep approximately 17 days into a 21-day incubation period.

Personalised messages are handwritten with non-toxic paint and each egg can accommodate roughly 10 characters of text. Made from the finest free-range eggs from locally sourced hens, the eggs retail for £35.

Lowe Profero

The technology team at Lowe Profero have invented a tool that could take the subjectivity out of creativity – and possibly the need for Creative Directors.

The Creativity Hemet measures temperature, pulse rate and changes in your brain activity to try and capture what is known as the "brain blink,” a term coined by cognitive scientists John Kouniosand and Mark Beeman in the 1990s.

The “brain blink” is the pivotal instant that your brain turns inward just before the "aha!" moment. This is marked by a period of inactivity, almost shutting down as you focus on the idea, to a mass of rapid neural activation as you start to explore the idea in more detail.

The Creativity Helmet will be able to measure whether an idea follows this flurry of brain activity – and objectively judge whether it is a ‘good’ idea worth following up.

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