Tuesday Take-aways: April Fool’s Day Flops and Funnies

Have you ever suffered from load-shedding lunacy? When you wander around the house absentmindedly hitting light switches and turning on the kettle over and over again, each time forgetting that the power’s out? This is what April Fool’s Day is like for me, despite a determination to go through the day second-guessing every headline, inevitably there are one or two that, even if it’s just for a moment, catch me off-guard.

Striking that perfect balance between fooling a few, while the majority feel like they’ve been included in a particularly amusing inside joke, is almost an artform – and this year had its fair share of flops and funnies.

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Leading the pack in the ‘flop’ category is Volkswagen’s “rebrand” to Voltswagen in a nod to its electric vehicle line. Perhaps the company’s first mistake was its over-eagerness, posting the press release on Tuesday a full two days before April 1st. This meant that no-one got the joke, and some are speculating that Volkswagen USA may even face action by regulators for misleading investors.

Brands that got it right this year tapped into the general sentiment that the world is in need of a bit of escapism, with a good dose of lightness leaning into the realm of the ridiculous. The South Australian Police used the opportunity to welcome their new elite canine team of sausage dogs that would be used to search those hard to reach spots, like air vents and under cars, and of course the exciting advantage of being able to attach them to drones.

And never missing the opportunity for a bit of fun, the travel industry stepped up this year with some brilliant gags, so perhaps now is a good time to make yourself a nice cuppa with Lipton’s new self-jiggling teabag, and read about Royal Caribbean’s new airline, Ballito’s new transparent beach loos, Emirates’ plans to take love to new heights and Contiki’s foray into space travel for those who just really need to get away for a bit.

Mindful Musings

Here is some inspiration to help you through the week…

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Marketing Musings

As the ever-wise Seth Godin points out, “Whether you’re designing a package, a cover, a fashion or even a meme, the goal is to have it be recognisable from across the room. That doesn’t mean it has to be loud or interruptive. But when we’re looking for it, we should be able to pick it out of a crowd.” This is what he refers to as the 30-foot rule, which means being distinctive enough to stand out from the rest of the clutter.

Perhaps the same could be applied to travel marketing campaigns. With our inboxes already overflowing with emails claiming to deliver the very best offers, newest hotel upgrades and most exciting itineraries – how do you stand out?

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One of the most common mistakes we make, is to simply look at how everyone else is doing it and then fall in line – how many generic travel marketing newsletters have you received that open with a stock photo banner, followed by a couple of specials and a blatantly SEO-drive article on 5 things to do in Italy… or where ever else may be flavour of the month?

We’re losing out on the opportunity to be distinctive – to humanise our content through storytelling that hooks readers in. As Search Engine Journal points out, the best way to get to people is to paint a picture they can’t help but imagine themselves in.

For example, instead of the stock-standard mailer promoting Italy, how about a greeting from Francesca, an Italian travel expert who is currently living in Tuscany, who “describes what made her fall in love with Italy in the first place” along with “thoughtful recommendations on some of the best places to visit in the coming months, drawing on her own experiences.”

The beauty of this approach is that you don’t even have to be a professional writer – all you need is authenticity, a personal touch and true connection with your audience rather than opting for the hard sell.

What the world was musing over this past week

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Netflix teams up with SA Tourism

South African locations, landmarks and storytelling will be showcased in Netflix productions in the coming years, following the signing of an agreement between South African tourism and Netflix.

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Virtual travel for people with disabilities

With more than 350 live and interactive virtual experiences in over 45 countries, Beeyonder aims to open doors for those who can’t travel and includes options like a virtual tour of Ireland’s castles or a koala discovery walk.

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Penne or Pappardelle? There’s a playlist for that

In an ingenious collaboration, Barilla teamed up with Spotify to put together playlists to ensure you always cook your pasta to perfection. Each noodle has its own playlist, so add your pasta to the pot, hit play, and once the music ends, it’s time to drain and enjoy.

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Amazon’s own-goal

Super-brand Amazon has been in a lot of hot water lately – and last week it came to a head when in a cheeky tweet, Amazon took on a US senator ridiculing assertions that its staff are so overworked that they have to urinate in bottles, only to issue an apology soon after admitting that its delivery drivers do indeed have to resort to this practice too!

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Nike sues ‘Satan Shoe’

One minute. That’s how long it took for a custom design by rapper Lil Nas X and NYC art collective MSCHF of Nike Air Max 97s containing one drop of human blood to sell out at a price tag of US1,018 a pair. But Nike aren’t happy about it, and have filed a trademark infringement lawsuit.