April fool’s digital campaigns

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April fool’s digital campaigns

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While advertisers and marketers haven’t been able to prank audiences as well as the BBC did in 1957 with their Swiss Spaghetti Tree story, the ad industry has taken to pranking the everyday person the past few years. In honour of the most tricky of holidays, here are our five favourite prank-based ads from across the U.S. and Europe.



In order to promote the Carrie remake in a new and fun way, MGM and Thinkmodo brought Carrie’s telekinesis to an unassuming coffee shop in New York City. While there was no pig’s blood involved (thank goodness), the telekinetic acts certainly gave the cofee shop customers a fright.

The video was put up just eleven days before the film’s release date and it has grown to be one of the most popular viral prank campaigns ever, with almost 62 million views. Since its release, the viral ad has received critical praise and awards, including two CLIO awards and a Webby.

Watch as happy coffee shop customers have a momentary fright here.

Crest and Oral-B


Procter & Gamble’s Crest and Oral-B nrands, along with Publicis Kaplan Thaler, pranked children by presenting healthy alternatives to sugary Halloween candy. In the most adorable (and funny) way possible the children described their absolute loathing for the beet, broccoli and asparagus-flavourred sweets they were asked to taste test.

The video was put online two weeks before Halloween and it received over seven million views in its first few days online and it resulted in 1.7 million coupons printed. The campaign was praised for the dental brands’ approach to a holiday that doesn’t traditionally fit with their products. Indeed, “nothing is more terrifying than Halloween without candy.”

Kids say the darndest things, especially when candy is at stake. Watch here.

TNT Benelux


In order to let Belgians know of Telent offering TNT Benelux, Duval Guillaume turned an average town square into a centre of drama with the push of a button. By brining drama to usually calm town square, local residents knew exactly what kind of entertainment they would find on TNT Benelux.

With over 52 million views since it was launched, this ad is one of the most viral prank campaigns. With eight Cannes Lions, as well as many other awards, it is also considered on eof the most critically-praised viral ads.

Watch as drama descends on this calm town square here.

Pepsi Max


Abbott Mead Vickers took a regular bus stop on Oxford Street and turned some traveler’s waits upside down by showing UFOs, robots and other out-of-this-world events happening in Central London on one side of the bus shelter for its latest Pepsi Max ‘Unbelievable’ campaign. Some people were scared, others were entertained and many more took photos and videos to share their experience.

The video of the Pepsi max bus shelter prank has gotten almost 7 million views in just over a year and is proving to be one of the most innovative out-of-home campaigns of 2014. The concept did just whay it was meant to do and showed how out-of-this-world Pepsi Max can be.

Watch London get taken over by aliens and more here.

Devil’s Due


To promote Devil’s Due, Twentieth Centry Fox paired with Thinkmodo to scare people on the streets of New York City with it’s Devil Baby Attack video. People’s reactions to the devil baby easily make this one of the funniest prank advertisements, and it quickly went viral.

The video has gotten almost 51 million views since it was uploaded and went viral last January. It has also received critical praise and has already won two Shorty awards, as well as national media attention.

Watch the terribly funny baby attack prank here.

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So what do you think? Were there any viral prank advertisements that we missed? If you think so, tweet us.

Or, if you have any digital strategy questions on how things go viral, let us know via [email protected]. Happy April Fool’s Day!


Published by

Alexis Pratsides