April 1 – that dastardly day of deceit that often gets the media in on the customary pranks one way or another, and is now an annual maelstrom of sometimes-plausible social media stunts.
Here are our five favourite Australian April Fools’ pranks this year:
- Bigger is better: Kudos to the team at Mumbrella for their report on the Australian Financial Review announcing plans to move to broadsheet format. The AFR overhaul even had its editor Michael Stutchbury and CEO Brett Clegg voicing support, with the backing of ‘neuroscience research’, no less
- Life in the fast lane – BMW owners only: BMW Australia (that’s German auto-maker Bavarian Motor Works) promoted the Australian Bureau of MotorWays’ (cue side-splitting laughter) decision to restrict the use of right-hand lanes to BMWs only for Easter Monday. The prank, which featured on BMW Australia’s Facebook page and was also noticed on page five of The Australian, included a nice mention for Hertz car rental
- Gina’s triumph: TV blog TV Tonight had a whopper of an exclusive - mining magnate and media mogul in the making Gina Rinehart supposedly took the reins at Channel TEN after the company’s board unseated CEO Hamish McLennan. Special mention for the creative, if a little stinging, remarks about McLennan from an unnamed source
- Raiders’ star has an inkling: Chinese telecoms technology company Huawei might not be rolling out high-speed fibre optic cabling any time soon, but it’s certainly doing its bit for Canberra’s NRL club, the Raiders. Raiders’ star Sandor Earl was so thankful for Huawei’s sponsorship, he decided to express his affection for the brand by having its logo tattooed to his right thigh. Or did he?
- That’s Krafty: Self-styled champion of truly Australian products Dick Smith got in early this year to remind us that one of the nation’s best loved most recognisable flavours is in fact owned by American fat cats. A mock press conference saw one of said fat cats announce a re-branding of the Australian classic to ‘Yankymite’ in honour of manufacturer Kraft’s owners overseas
Of course April Fools’ pranks aren’t always appropriate. As Michael Sebastian of Ragan’s PR Daily noted yesterday, a hoax, like the recent Whitehaven Coal scenario, can often mean adverse effects for companies, PR practitioners and journalists.
Unless you’ve been learning from April Fools’ prank master and Family First Senator Steve Fielding. Senator Fielding proposed that the April Fools’ tradition be banned on the grounds that people had the right “to not be molested by pranks”. Given his campaign against the annual day of high-jinks took place on said day, this proved to be the ultimate prank of all. Inception.