The day my six-year old created an app….

…and made millions.

Bored of trying to download game apps that he is not allowed to play because of his age, my son decided to create an app that lets young boys circumvent parental controls and play games meant for teenagers for a limited time to avoid being caught. Forget about the ensuing police investigation, Google and Apple are warring with each other to try and buy the app and then employ him.

In case you didn’t realise what day it is, this is obviously an April Fools’ day joke. (Even if a bad one, quite probable).

In time-honoured tradition, April Fools’ day has long seen brands (and newspapers) turn into pranksters and create some rather well-established creative moments. The 2006 BMW genius: “BMW uninvents the wheel”; BMWTaco Bell buying the Liberty Bell in 2000 and renaming it the Taco Bell Liberty Well; Richard Branson launching a campaign for its now-defunct Virgin Cola claiming that the cans had been designed with colour-changing technology, and if the can turned blue “the cola’s gone flat” – a pun on the blue-coloured Pepsi cans.

From news headlines claiming that the remains of the Unicorn have been found in the Tower of London to TalkTalk launching  a social networking site call WoofWoof for dogs to the more obvious ones like Marmite in partnership with Vaseline to create a lip-balm, marketers have always used this day to entertain their consumers.

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And few can forget how five years ago, in 2008, YouTube tortured its viewers when every featured video on the site linked to Rick Astley’s ‘Never gonna give you up’  music video.

But is it the death of creativity as we know it or has social media killed brands from somehow offending its consumers and therefore the one chance that they can take and be seditious, no one does? Or have the pranksters from Silicon Valley taken over? Twitter announcing a vowel-free world with the launch of Twttr, a free consonant-only service. To get regular Twitter, the vowels will have to be paid for.twwtr

Google creates Google Nose, to help search based on scents. Google Maps added Secret Treasure Maps. Gmail turns Blue. And the best of the bunch goes to… There are two contenders for the top spot. Guardian’s news story about the augmented reality glasses, giving Google glasses a run for its money, and YouTube which announced it is shutting down because all along it had been a competition to find the best video ever and it was ready to pick a winner.

Not only attention grabbing but also plausible.

Non-technology brands however have been nothing new but a busted flush. Look at some of the examples below.

Procter & Gamble has launched a video on YouTube to launch a new mouthwash called ‘bacon’ for “breath that sizzles.” P&G bacon mouthwash

A bit too obvious, perhaps. Barclayhard is helping your dog to pay, with PayWag. Financial institutions, when will you learn? Hasn’t this been done already? Metro Bank actively welcomes man’s best friend inside all its branches. Richard Branson creates the world’s first glass-bottomed plane for its Virgin brand.

If it were not clearer before, it is now that in order for brands to communicate to consumers in a world dominated by followers, friends, connections and subscribers, brands will have to take a risk and not just go for that big idea but a pervasive brand experience.

Wonder what we would have made if Lynx had announced a partnership with the London Underground? The London tubes would sniff out the pongy armpits and spray the guilty party with Lynx. Ah, the Lynx Effect.

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About singhspeak

Views on marketing, advertising, and sometimes politics

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