PRANKS and practical jokes are common on April Fools’ Day, which is celebrated on that day. It’s a time when people enjoy playing amusing practical jokes on their friends and loved ones.
Even though it was intended to be a harmless joke, things can occasionally go wrong and have negative effects especially when major corporations are involved or jokes are broadcasted on television, radio, and social media.
There have been instances where people have taken April Fools’ pranks too far, causing harm to others or damage to property. Some pranks have resulted in injuries, misunderstandings, or even legal consequences. While April Fools’ Day is intended to be a lighthearted and fun-filled day, it’s important to be mindful of the potential risks involved in some pranks.
In this context, it’s crucial to remember that pranks should never put someone’s health, safety, or well-being at risk. Before playing a prank, it’s important to think through the possible outcomes and ensure that it won’t cause harm or hurt anyone.
By taking a responsible approach to April Fools’ pranks, we can enjoy the day while avoiding any unintended consequences. Here are some examples of the worst or best April Fools ever pulled off by big companies around the world.
Volkswagen to Voltswagen
As part of its marketing campaign for the then-new ID.4 SUV, Volkswagen thought it would be amusing to announce that the US division would be renamed “Voltswagen.” Unfortunately, this information ended up being leaked well before April Fool’s Day.
What followed was a flood of angry comments on social media. Volkswagen eventually cancelled the campaign and apologised for it. It is now known as one of the most well-known April Fools’ Day jokes ever.
Volkswagen isn’t likely to do anything as crazy as this April Fools’ Day joke again, given how badly it turned out. No one will likely forget it either. “Voltswagen” will always be remembered as one of the worst April Fools’ jokes ever.
Google Gmail ‘Mic Drop’
Another well-known April Fools’ Day pranks that backfired was the Mic Drop, a new Google Gmail feature in 2016, that included a GIF of a yellow animated minion (from the animated Despicable Me and Minion films) dropping a microphone.
In effect, the feature would shut down the whole conversation, and literally disabled replies (as mic drops do).
But the main issue was that the “mic drop” button was right next to the “send” button, which caused countless people to accidentally mic-drop their clients, bosses, friends and family, who were later horrified. Despite Google removing the button, the harm had already been done.
BMW reverse April Fools joke
Most of us know that BMW has been pulling April Fools’ jokes longer than any other automaker in this world. But, there’s one time, they made the decision to pull an April 1st prank backwards in New Zealand.
BMW published a newspaper advertisement on April 1, 2015, claiming that the first customer to enter a BMW dealership and say “ask for Tom” would receive a free exchange of their old BMW for a brand-new model.
Obviously, the majority of people believed it to be a joke. However, one person who went to test it out ended up leaving the dealership with a free BMW.
BMW said on the Youtube video posted that “it was a test to see who would risk looking like the ultimate fool for the ultimate car.”
Even though this one didn’t backfire in the conventional sense of not being funny or upsetting the public, it did so in the sense that everyone assumed it was just another joke.
Elon Musk’s Tesla “Bankwuptcy”
Through his tweets, Elon Musk has developed quite a reputation for himself in recent years. But he was wreaking havoc long before he became Twitter’s sole owner and director.
In 2018, he decided to make an April Fools’ Day announcement that Tesla had gone bankrupt, posting a picture of himself sleeping against a Tesla while covered in Tesla-branded cardboard packaging.
The packaging had the word “Bankwupt!” written across the front in black marker. People groaned and attributed it to Elon Musk’s continued lack of humour.
Taco Liberty Bell
Taco Bell, a fast food restaurant, pulled off an amazing prank 26 years ago that enraged Americans and went viral.
On April 1, 1996, fast food restaurant chain Taco Bell played an April Fool’s Day joke called the Taco Liberty Bell. Taco Bell published a full-page advertisement in seven major U.S. newspapers announcing that it had purchased the Liberty Bell in order to “reduce the country’s debt” and renamed it the “Taco Liberty Bell.” Before it was revealed that the story was a joke at noon on the same day, thousands of people had called Taco Bell’s corporate offices and the National Park Service.
The fallout lasted until residents realised what day it was. Taco Bell eventually donated $50,000 to the preservation and upkeep of the bell.