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Don’t Joke About April Fools’ Day

Published on Sept. 22, 2022, at 12:52 p.m.
by Carleigh Clark.

I just ordered fake eyelashes for my dog from Ipsy.

Totally kidding.

Smelling a perfume through your computer screen using Google Nose or waking up in the morning and using Lululemon’s spray-on yoga pants is the reality of the future. Or wait … is it?

Companies and corporations from Airbnb to Sephora have taken advantage of an already gullible market over recent years. Companies have used April Fools’ Day as an opportunity to promote bizarre and irrational products or collaborations. Social media has propelled these jokes.

It’s important to ask if these tactics are an effective move for brands or if they cause a loss of brand credibility.

Sephora announced its “first beauty store on the moon” on April Fools’ Day of 2022. This Instagram post was obviously part of the April Fools’ trend, but rather than laughing face emojis like Sephora probably expected, some consumers typed harsh words in their comments.

One user commented, “I’d believe it more than you coming to the UK! Lol,” and it was not the only one of the sort.

This comment comes with validity. Sephora operates over 1,731 stores within the United States, while there is not a single store in the United Kingdom. There is clearly an entire market that Sephora is missing out on across the pond, so why joke about putting its products on the moon when it can’t get them across the Atlantic? As harmless as the joke was to most, Sephora seems to have lost some credibility with potential consumers by making an outlandish and impossible claim, such as putting a storefront on the moon.

JetBlue took a stab at April Fools’ Day this year, too, but its replies were even worse than Sephora’s. JetBlue announced in an Instagram post that it would begin offering flights from LaGuardia Airport to John F. Kennedy International Airport. The only issue? The airports are located exactly 10 miles apart in New York City. JetBlue sold it as “the fastest way to get across NYC’s biggest borough.”

Comments on JetBlue’s post included strong takes, ranging from those wondering what the carbon footprint of the new flight path would be to consumers saying they wouldn’t take JetBlue to get anywhere due to past experiences.

The joke went in a different direction than JetBlue probably expected due to recent conversation and advocation to prevent climate change. According to The Nature Conservancy, “The [rates] of carbon emissions are the highest they’ve been in 66 million years and the amount of warming in the coming decades is expected to be 250 times greater than the average warming during the past century.”

I’m not a scientist, and I’m not here to write about climate change. However, JetBlue failed to understand current topics of conversation when developing a seemingly harmless post for April Fools’ Day. This announcement led to some of JetBlue’s social media followers and consumers to lose respect for the brand as a whole, due to the insensitivity and timing of the post. The David Suzuki Foundation has stated that the carbon impact of even a single flight “can be equivalent to going (gasoline) car-free for a year.”

April Fools’ Day jokes are supposed to be fun and light-hearted; but when they are attached to a brand with a reputation to uphold, the stakes to keep brand credibility are high.

Just a thought: When April Fools’ Day 2023 rolls around, make sure your company’s joke doesn’t involve advancing a global humanitarian crisis or putting the final nail in the coffin for a desperate market of makeup lovers in the United Kingdom.

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