When it Comes to Branding, April Fools’ Day is no Joke

april fools'It’s April Fools’ Day today, the day that brands and organizations can poke a little fun at their fans and followers or, better yet, themselves, without fear of recrimination. At the same time, April Fools’ Day reminds us that using humor to communicate a message can be serious business.

Many brands are taking full advantage April Fools’ Day.

For example, the American Eagle Outfitters website features an image of a woman and her beagle in matching, pink outfits, with the tagline “American Beagle Outfitters.” The site includes a photo gallery of dogs decked out in American Eagle garb, as well as a three-minute video explaining why "American Beagle" is creating clothing for dogs.

Meanwhile, Frito-Lay has distributed a press release announcing that Chester Cheetah has "entered" the perfume category with Cheetau, "a prestige fragrance that celebrates the irreverent, intriguing and playful nature of the iconic feline."

While April Fools’ Day pranks happen just once a year, infusing humor into your branding efforts can be a year-round affair.

Being funny, of course, means being fast on your feet, and the ability to improvise.

With that in mind, here are some key improv lessons for PR pros, designed to bring a little levity to the situation the next time they need to speak in front of a live audience, compliments of Danielia Donohue, a public affairs specialist and digital content strategist.

> Get a suggestion from the audience. At the beginning of an improv show, the team will usually ask for a suggestion from the audience as a way to demonstrate that there really is no pre-planning going on. Taking a suggestion or even asking your audience what they want to see makes them feel part of the process. Try this when engaging with your audience—ask them what they’re interested in and plan accordingly.

> Diversify your team. As much as we would all love to be great at everything, it’s just not possible. An improv team is usually comprised of some people who are great at characters, others who are great at connecting storylines and others whose main skill is in knowing when a scene is over and when to edit. Recognizing a teammate’s strengths and honoring them makes the entire team stronger and makes everyone feel valued.

> Initiate with a sentence instead of a paragraph. When there’s too much information presented, people have a tendency to shut down. Focus on one aspect you want to highlight at a time. Start simple and invite dialogue.

Follow Danielia Donohue on Twitter: @Danielia 

Follow Matthew Schwartz on Twitter: @mpsjourno1

Comments Off


About Matthew Schwartz

Group Editor, PR News: Matthew Schwartz is group editor of PR News, the leading source of trends, how-to content and best practices for PR professionals. Matthew leads the editorial strategy for PR News’ premium content products—including its weekly newsletter—and for its digital presence. Matthew was editor of PR News from 2003-2005. Prior to returning to PR News, Matthew was a reporter for Crain’s BtoB and Media Business magazines, where he covered business marketers and media companies. He was also editor of BMA Buzz, a biweekly email newsletter covering B2B marketing, advertising and social media, and contributing writer to Advertising Age Custom. Matthew has helped to launch blogs on behalf of ZoomInfo and direct marketing agency The Kern Organization. He also spent a few years in cable-news precincts, working as a writer/producer at CNN and Fox News Channel.

Deals of the Week

Get $150 Off PR News' Social Media Summit

Social Media Summit with Taste of Tech 2015Join PR News at the Marriott Marquis in New York on Oct. 5 for the Social Media Summit, where expert communicators will share in-depth case studies from their social efforts. “Taste of Tech,” a unique element of the Summit, will feature partners who “get PR” and can help you make your social initiatives more impactful.

Use code “150” at checkout to save $150 on the regular rate.

Get $50 off PR News' Crisis Management Guidebook


Crisis management is an art, not a science. In this edition of PR News’ Book of Crisis Management Strategies & Tactics, you will discover many different views on this art, and you are certain to find takeaways that will transform the way your organization handles crises. 

Use code “50off” at checkout.

Save $100 on a PR News Subscription



Let PR News become your weekly, go-to resource for the latest PR trends, case studies and tip sheets. Topics covered include visual storytelling, social media, measurement, crisis management and media relations.

Use code “SUBDEAL” at checkout.

Comments are closed.