April Fool’s Day can be a stressful time for marketers. Coming up with a creative joke/prank that gets your brand noticed, without inflicting mass chaos on your customers, can be a tricky feat.
No brand understands the unique precariousness of April Fool’s Day like Google.
You might recall the infamous “Mic Drop” debacle of 2016 in which Google allowed Gmail users to insert a goofy minion GIF to end email chains. Google had to disable the feature after only a few hours when emailers everywhere complained about accidentally clicking the button when sending professional communications.
Well, it looks like we pranked ourselves this year. Due to a bug, the Mic Drop feature inadvertently caused more headaches than laughs. We’re truly sorry.
Not a company to be deterred, Google has bounced back with several 2017 April Fool’s Day jokes to be remembered. My rankings are based on three factors: memorability, execution and how well the prank/joke helps market Google’s real-life products (this isa marketing blog after all).
2017 Google April Fool’s Day Jokes Ranking
10. Google Assistant: April Foolproof
Officially live as of April 1, the “April foolproof” command inspires your Google Assistant to offer you a few tips on how to avoid getting pranked. Responses include “Do not trust your relatives” and if your computer is doing something strange, “ask yourself who’s had access to it”.
Sure, it’s nice to see Google Assistant have some personality, but this April Fool’s Day gag ranks lowest on the list for being fairly mundane and hardly memorable.
9. Google’s Bubble Wrap Keyboard
In pursuit of the perfect keyless keyboard, Google Japan has unveiled the Puchi Puchi (bubble wrap) keyboard. Finally, Google has harnessed the therapeutic feeling of popping bubble wrap for the good of typing. Simply crush the bubble wrap corresponding to the character you’d like to input.
The aromatherapy filled bubbles are a nice touch to this fairly elaborate joke.
If this joke seems familiar, it’s because Google released the same thing back in 2015. This year’s iteration is slightly different, introducing Ms. Pac-Man to the mix. Google lets you play Pac-Man within the Google Maps app, (points for potentially incentivizing downloads) and the web version.
A quick scroll through my Twitter feed confirms that this is perhaps the most prominent Google April Fool’s joke of 2017, which make sense considering Google Maps is one of the most used apps in the country.
If Google wasn’t repeating a gag from the past, this would have been ranked much higher.
7. Google Translate: Heptapod B
This may be lost on those of you who haven’t seen “Arrival” yet. (It was an amazing movie and you really should go see it.) Nevertheless, on April 1, Google introduced instant camera translation for the fictional language.
Communicating across language (and glass) barriers can be a rather alienating experience. While learning a new writing system can be quite rewarding and even a mind-altering experience, not everyone has time for that. So whether the world’s fate hangs in the balance, or if you’re simply trying to discern whether your coffee stain ring means something, we wish you success as you integrate this tool into the story of your life.
This gag scores tons of point for reminding me just how cool Google Translate really is, but it’s possible I’m artificially inflating the ranking due to my love for the movie. Let me know in the comments.
6. Google Wind
From the Google team in the Netherlands, comes a way to harness the power of Holland’s 1,170 windmills to prevent bad weather, ensuring clearer skies for everyone.
This gag is hilarious and memorable (just watch the video), but has no clear tie-in to any existing Google product.
5. Chromebook Accessories
The image of a Chromebook selfie stick will be forever lodged in my brain and for that this Google April Fool’s Day gag ranks at number 5 on the list.
In addition the ridiculously massive Chromebook Groupie Stick, Google has introduced Cardboard for Chromebooks and Chromebook Workout Armband. This gag gets major props for reminding me that Chromebooks are indeed still a thing.
4. Google Cloud Expansion on Mars
Amidst their growing list of new regions, Google announced on April 1 that they would be expanding to Mars.
In addition to supporting some of the most demanding disaster recovery and data sovereignty needs of our Earth-based customers, we’re looking to the future cloud infrastructure needed for the exploration and ultimate colonization of the Red Planet.
3. Haptic Helpers
With this April Fool’s joke Google promises to take Virtual Reality to the next level. Beyond sight and sound, Google wants to give its VR customers the opportunity to experience taste, touch and smell – bring on the Haptic Helpers.
Not only is the video downright delightful, but it serves as a tool to show off Google’s truly remarkable VR capabilities that some consumers might not know about.
2. Google Play for Pets
While I’m a softy for anything pet related, this Google gag goes beyond adorableness to showcase the Google Play Store and generate buzz across the web.
Wouldn’t it be great to keep your pets occupied when you’re not around? With Google Play for Pets, your furry friends can keep busy with thousands of games and apps throughout the day.
Virtual reality fetch, a puppy bracket, and a chicken playing Angry Birds are only a few nuggets of awesome to be found in Google’s promotional video. This April Fool’s Day prank gets 5/5 paws from me.
1. Google Gnome
In the increasingly crowded field of virtual home assistants, even Google can have trouble standing out. That’s what makes Google Gnome so ingenious, and why it ranks at the top of 2017’s April Fool’s Day jokes.
Naturally, Google Gnome is just like Google Home, but for outside — answering questions like “what’s the windspeed?” and obeying commands like “mow the lawn.” Google Gnome’s perfectly monotone voice and goofy responses will crack you up, and the extra attention to detail with add-ons like “Raign Gear” put it over the top.