Bold brand collabs and weird product launches: April Fools’ Day stunts of 2022

In honor of April Fools’ Day, brands take to the internet to launch their latest product innovations and unveil new collaborations – most of which feel, well, just wrong. Here, The Drum has rounded up some of the best branded April Fools’ Day pranks.

Is Iceland high?

Iceland has launched the world’s first CBD Hash Brown Fries to reflect the ever-changing attitude towards the use of CBD and the benefits it can have to alleviate stress.

“The past couple of years have been demanding to say the least, so at Iceland, we’ve been thinking of what we can do to make sure our customers start the day as stress-free as possible,” it said. “Our hash brown range has some of our most popular products, so we thought, how can we take them to a higher level?”

Aldi takes on Ryanair

Aldi is spreading its wings and launching an airline – AldiAir.

The budget British grocery brand took to social media channels with the announcement that it is turning its hand to low-cost aviation and sparking some short-lived April Fools’ Day rivalry with Irish airline Ryanair.

Fans responded that if they can get through security as fast as shopping goes through an Aldi checkout they are “all for it.”

The brand collab no one asked for

Pot Noodle and Papa John’s have joined forced for the first-ever Pot Noodle pizza or... the Pot Pizza.

In one of the boldest flavor mash-ups of all time, Pot Noodle is offering a fresh take on some of the most popular Papa Johns’ pizzas, pairing them with infamous Pot Noodle flavors for three new creations:

  • Papa John’s American Hot topped with spicy Bombay Bad Boy and extra jalapeños

  • Papa John’s Chicken Club crowned with oodles of Chicken & Mushroom noodles

  • Papa John’s BBQ Meat Feast with smoky Beef & Tomato

Walkers finally makes the perfect sandwich crisp

Walkers is at long last giving the people what they want... a giant bread-sized crisp that has been especially designed for use in sandwiches.

The gigantic ‘Bread Shaped Crisp,’ which measures 11cm in height, is a totally flat, bread-shaped crisp. The new product comes after research by Walkers revealed that nearly all (98%) of the nation agreed that crisps make sandwiches better.

The perfectly-sized sandwich companion has been launched to solve a big problem that crisp sandwich fans have been struggling with for years – crisps crumbling up and falling out the sides of their sandwiches and uneven bread coverage.

Ocado’s ‘Britain in a Jar’ range

Upmarket grocer Ocado has launched a convenience range of British staples, starting with the ‘Sundae Roast’ in a jar, with ‘Fish for Chips’ and ‘Breakfast in Case of Emergencies’ to follow later this month.

Laura Harricks, chief customer officer at Ocado Retail, said: “Our Britain in a Jar range perfectly encapsulates our ethos of delivering quality products while saving our customers’ time, so they can do more of what they love.”

Is Duolingo disappearing language-learning slackers?

The popular language-learning app has issued a PSA-type ad warning us all that a few too many people have gone missing under mysterious circumstances after neglecting their Duolingo lessons.

The stunt, which includes a one-and-a-half-minute video ad, plays into the popular meme that casts Duolingo’s mascot, Duo the owl, as an armed kidnapper. In the spot, a personal injury lawyer poses the question: “Has your family been taken by a corporate mascot?” He promotes his legal representation to victims of Duo kidnappings, imploring them to reach out via a dedicated hotline: 781-STOP-OWL. The hotline is live; fans who call or text the number will receive automated text and voice responses.

To take the prank to the next level, the language app will even have its in-house legal counsel issue a video ‘response’ to the claims on TikTok. Plus, the brand will share contradictory messages across its social accounts urging fans to ignore the videos and warning against reaching out via hotline – all in the spirit of “playfully misleading” fans, according to Duolingo spokespeople.

Reyka Vodka cooks up hot dog hot tub stunt

Icelandic vodka brand Reyka has kicked off a new campaign promoting a product “at the intersection of Icelandic and American passions.” Bringing together the Icelandic pastime of bathing in hot springs and the American staple of hot dog cookouts, it has unveiled the Pylsur Plunge, the world’s first-ever hot dog hot tub (‘pylsur’ is Icelandic for ‘hot dog’).

An Icelandic-style hot tub, the Pylsur Plunge can reach temperatures up to 40°C, which the brand says is ideal for relaxing aching muscles as well as cooking hot dogs. Constructed sturdily with a spacious wooden shell, there is plenty of room for hot dog buns, condiments and vodka-based cocktails. The brand claims the tub fits four comfortably and will be made available starting today, “wherever meat-based bathing products are sold.”

“Icelanders love hot springs. Americans love hot tubs. And we both love hot dogs – in Iceland, we call them Pylsur,” said the brand in a statement shared with The Drum.

U by Kotex chocolate pads melt away period stigma

U by Kotex is on a mission to destigmatize menstruation. To break the stereotype that ‘that time of the month’ makes women crazy, overly-emotional or even chocolate-crazy, this April Fools’ Day the hygiene product brand is releasing a spoof product called U by Kotex Chocolate Pads. Shaped like menstrual pads, the chocolate bars feature wings like those on the U by Kotex Ultra Thin Pads and are made even more luxurious with a raspberry ganache filling.

And although consumers can’t actually find U by Kotex Chocolate Pads at their local drugstore, the brand wants everyone to know that period stigma is no joke; proprietary research from the brand finds that 66% of surveyed women have experienced a blatant form of period stigma, such as jokes or rude comments at their expense.

Hellmann’s and Butterfinger create sweet and savory mayo mix

In a gross mash-up that’s become par for the course of branded April Fools’ Day pranks (remember Heinz’s and Innocent’s smoothie-soup mashup from last year?), condiment aisle staple Hellmann’s has partnered with popular candy bar Butterfinger on a new gag-inducing gag.

The new Hellmann’s Mayonnaise Made with Butterfinger feels like a nightmarish reimagining of Goober, the single-jar peanut butter-and-jelly combos that first hit shelves in the late 1960s. The product brings classic Hellmann’s full-fat mayo together with the peanut-buttery chocolate crisp of Butterfinger – in one jar.

And while the product is a joke, the brands have teamed up on a real recipe that they claim will woo consumers’ tastebuds: the Hellmann’s Butterfinger Crispety Crunchety Cake, which uses Hellmann’s mayonnaise as a source of extra moisture and creaminess in a sweet chocolatey, peanut-buttery cake.

Native brings viral green goddess salad to armpits everywhere

Sustainable and cruelty-free personal care brand Native is punking consumers this year by taking its partnership with Baked by Melissa founder Melissa Ben-Ishay to a new level.

The brand already has a line-up of products inspired by Baked by Melissa cupcake flavors, with scents including ginger lemonade, mint cookie and tie-dye vanilla. But when Ben-Ishay’s TikTok video about her favorite green goddess salad recipe went viral, Native saw a new opportunity. As an April Fools’ prank, it’s launching two faux products inspired by the dish: a deodorant and a lotion “with fresh notes of cabbage, cucumber and basil.”

The products will be promoted on both brands’ Instagram accounts today.

Gousto says that pets deserve gourmet food subscription boxes too

UK-based meal kit retailer Gousto has unveiled a furry friends-friendly product innovation: the new Floofsto by Gousto, a gourmet recipe box subscription service designed especially for pets. The kits are outfitted with top-tier culinary delights, with everything from sashimi-grade salmon and wagyu beef to plant-based options for vegetarian pets such as hamsters, birds and guinea pigs. The brand claims that the product line was developed in partnership with professional veterinarians “to ensure it meets the recommended nutrition and pet safety standards.”

To promote the prank, Gousto splurged on a full-fledged campaign with styled photos of pets enjoying their Michelin-level meals. The brand also released detailed descriptions of sample meals that consumers can expect to receive with their Floofsto by Gousto subscriptions, including a Purr-ger, Punchy Pet Thai Noodles and a Heckin’ Delectable Roast Dinner.

The brand will air behind-the-scenes footage on its social channels today.

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