Retail Marketing News South Africa

Retail brands join in on April Fool's Day shenanigans

April Fool's Day, observed on 1 April each year, is a day dedicated to light-hearted pranks, gags, practical jokes and hoaxes. Typically, brands have relished the opportunity to get up to mischief and troll their consumers with bogus product launches and unlikely brand extensions and collaborations.

Here are some of the pranks pulled by retail brands that caught our attention this year.

Nomu fish paste

Gourmet food brand Nomu announced the launch of its very own fish paste called Wedwu - the name clearly drawing inspiration from Redro fish paste which was discontinued at the end of 2021 along with Peck’s Anchovette.

One could be forgiven for falling for this prank, given Nomu’s recent legitimate launch of a crowdsourced mayonnaise, Mayu, created to fill the gap left by Hellmann’s, which Unilever has discontinued in South Africa.

Nomu took to social media on 1 April to share its Wedwu prank. The social post read, “Alright South Africa, great news today! We’ve decided you’re right, and we need to solve the next biggest crisis, after mayonnaise… clearly.”

Lego Robot SA edition

Lego got in on the April Fool’s Day action with a reveal of its Creator 3-in-1 Lego Robot SA edition, which represents the various working stages or positions that one may find a local traffic light in. The building set was advertised to include a regular robot, a non-functional load shedding robot, and a “robot relaxing on an incline”.

In the brand’s social media post, Lego hilariously noted that the set may also include an optional “part-time traffic director” - a common sighting at South African intersections when traffic lights are out.

OneDayOnly Slimmigration services

On 1 April, local daily deals e-tailer OneDayOnly had international passports and “identity rejuvenation” up for sale on its website, enticing South Africans wanting to start a new life abroad away from load shedding, potholes and the piercing sound of hadedas at 5 o’clock in the morning.

According to the April Fool’s campaign video, the deal is presented by Slimmigration Passport Services, which “unburdens American and European tourists” from their passports and resells them to South Africans in search of “a brighter future… in the literal sense.”

It’s said that founder, Theo Slim’s business is booming and he’s making a killing off South Africans who want access to “electricity, reliable public transport and the experience of watching TV without the sound of a generator rumbling over the dialogue”.

On the OneDayOnly website, passport and identity options on offer included Kaas van Fietsen from the Netherlands, Judy Dench from the UK, Hon Honhón from France, Glock Enßchpëël from Germany and Thorbjorhornjareidurylfi Gjarharhødrzkljarenenbergsson from Sweden. "Think of how smug you’ll feel resharing some clickbaity, bad news you found about South Africa," OneDayOnly quipped in the product listing.

Woolworths W Match dating app

Woolworths teased the launch of a new dating app that encourages users to match with potential romantic interests based on the contents of their shopping baskets.

“We’ve seen your tweets looking for love in our aisles and we’ve got an exciting announcement – we’re launching a dating app soon! Upload a pic of your Woolies basket, swipe right on other's choices and be matched based on compatibility,” the retailer posted on social media.

It later added a comment stating, “You guessed it – we’re only joking! We might not be the Tinder to find love, but we can help you find a tub of Tin Roof which is almost the same thing! PS. The salad aisle will still be there (iykyk).”

The comment presumably referenced social media users who had reported finding love in the Woolworths salad aisle.

Bob Martin for Humans

Pet care brand Bob Martin, which carries a range of conditioning tablets, vitamins and supplements for dogs and cats in its product offering, seemingly branched out into products for Homo sapiens with the launch of "Bob Martin for Humans". The brand took to its social platforms to advertise "Multihair Conditioning Tablets" which were promoted as "all humans need for a shiny head of hair".

The post's caption read, "For decades humans have secretly taken Bob Martins to grow and maintain healthy hair – just like their pets. Well, the secret is out. Introducing Bob Martin For Hoomans."

Source: Bob Martin
Source: Bob Martin via Facebook

The brand came clean the next day stating in a follow-up post, "We’re only having a laugh this April Fools. Bob Martin tablets are still the best for your ‘furry friends’. So, for happy, healthy pets, with the shiniest coats, it’s Bob Martin…fur real."

International brand activity

A popular event around the world, April Fool’s Day pranks were shared by scores of international brands too. Take a look at some of the campaigns below.

About Lauren Hartzenberg

Managing editor and retail editor at Cape Town apologist. Dog mom. Get in touch:

Let's do Biz