It Can Be Cool to Play the Fool with an Email Prank This April Fools’ Day


While not an official holiday along the lines of Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day, April Fools’ Day is still a great opportunity for marketers to get creative and send emails that will capture consumers’ attention and stand out in the inbox.

For example, Redbox (the movie rental kiosk company) recently sent a memorable April Fools’ Day email campaign that announced its latest rental experience—just for pets!

A Redbox email featured an image of a smaller movie rental box that, if you fell for the prank, seemed to be the perfect way for pets to pick up a movie (presumably to unwind after a long day in the office). The email announced this new service as “Petbox,” and promised that this service would provide “the latest movies and games your pet will want to sit and stay for.”

As extra detail, the email creative even highlighted some pet-related movies titles, and included a custom hashtag, #Petbox. Clicking on any part of the email took recipients to a custom landing page where the campaign was revealed to be an April Fools’ Day joke.

Use April Fool’s to Connect with Your Audience (but Proceed with Caution)

How can you create an April Fool’s email campaign? First, commit to the process and make it as effective as possible by brainstorming with team members, developing a winning strategy, and exploring new ideas. This is the fun part of process and can generate many creative ideas.

At the same time, you should be careful in how far you take it. Consider your company’s brand, culture, and overall risk appetite. If you think your executive team would not approve of a prank email, especially if it misses the mark, you may want to err on the side of creating a safe, less edgy April Fools’ Day email.

Don’t Accidentally Send the Wrong Message

A retailer recently attempted an April Fools’ Day email prank that … well, let’s just say it didn’t go as expected.

This brand wanted to creatively celebrate April Fools’ Day and even put a special discount in its customers’ hands. It created an email with a subject line that read, “Thanks for your order!” and inside included an image that appeared to show a receipt of purchased items.

Recipients had to look a little closer to see that the headline read, “Your Receipt from the Future,” and realize that this was actually a discount coupon.

Unfortunately, as clever as this email was, it required too much work from its audience. Also, with so many data breaches, identity theft, and fraud, many recipients thought that their credit card information had been stolen, or even that forgotten items in an abandoned shopping cart may have been ordered after the fact.

When it comes to creating memorable, engaging email experiences, surprising your customers and prospects is the goal. Confusing or irritating them … not so much.

Get creative with advanced email experiences

If you’re looking for a little inspiration for a future April Fools’ email prank, think of the potential in using any one of Liveclicker’s advanced email experiences. For example, you could:

  • Create a video with a humorous message or a good-natured prank
  • Pretend to release a fake new product or service, complete with custom imagery
  • Include embedded polls to ask customers’ opinions about your new direction
  • Hint that you will announce some controversial news soon and use a countdown timer to build excitement
  • Use a custom scratch-to-reveal graphic in your email creative as a dynamic second part to your prank message (and then deliver a special offer or promotion)

Prank and prosper

We hope these examples and tips will inspire you to use April Fool’s Day emails in a creative way to engage your audience (and drive sales!)

If you’re looking for even more holiday-related tips and best practices, for any holiday,  download our Holiday LookBook today.


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