Should we call time on April Fools’ Day?20th February, 2018 by Pippa Chester
It’s the time when some PRs rub their hands together in glee – a chance to show off a sense of humour and ideally bag some free press.
This usually involves making a fake announcement about an all singing and dancing product or service and desperately hoping that someone, somewhere, finds it funny (and likes your social post of course). It’s not just brands and media jumping on the bandwagon either – government officials and even the US armed forces have been known to dip their toe in the water.
The annual bacchanal of PR and marketing pranks that depicts this pseudo-holiday somehow makes an appearance each year, despite the fact that we spend the other 364 days denouncing the bearers of false information.
April Fools’ press releases are usually just innocent fun, of course – take Honda’s emoji registration plates or Pimm’s branding Big Ben. Even I cracked a smile.
But with fake news named 2017’s word of the year and considered one of the greatest threats to modern democracy, is it now time we pulled the plug on this trend – at least for the time being?
Research shows that 70% of consumers don’t trust advertising* and more than a third believe social media is no longer a force for good** – most recently fuelled by the links between Twitter and Facebook and alleged Russian manipulation of a free election and referendum.
So why purposefully litter the internet with hoaxes and lies, when you spend every other day of the year trying to win people’s trust? I, for one, believe it’s time to take a step back from this day encapsulated by lies and manipulation, and instead exert our energy into championing causes that matter.
Because without trust, what have you got?
* Trinity Mirror and Ipsos Connect
**Edelman’s Trust Barometer, 2018