April Fool’s Day 2024: the best pranks, stunts and fake news

Gone are the days we spent innocently putting salt in each other’s tea for ‘a bit of a laugh’; April Fool’s Day is now seen as the annual opportunity for brands, celebrities and the media to have a go at flexing their funnybone.

While concerns about the rise of online disinformation has made cynics of many of us, the annual prank-based celebration remains the one point in the year when we can put that to one side and celebrate the abundance of fake news stories, from diamond-encrusted air-fryers to dog-friendly gym classes.

To that end, it’s fair to say that April Fool’s Day has become something of a marketer’s dream, offering businesses the opportunity to think outside of strict brand guidelines as they create fake stories, spoof ad campaigns, and ludicrous new products.

It’s no surprise that so many find the lure of April Fools’ Day hard to resist. Here’s our round-up of the best – and the silliest – April Fools’ pranks of 2024.

Downward dogs and canine conditioning

Gymbox GymbarksGymbox is tapping into the increasing number of pet-obsessed Brits with new classes which allow gymgoers to bring their dog along to workouts.

The dog-only class, named Gymbarx, combines a convenient pet-sitting service for gymgoers with a chance to exercise their furry friends with a fun and engaging class.

Gymbox brand and marketing director Rory McEntee said: “All pet owners know how tricky it can be to leave their pet at home while they head down to the gym.

“With more and more Londoners looking for new ways to treat their pets, it made perfect sense to not only let dogs visit Gymbox but to create their very own fitness class.”

Going wild in the aisles

Aldi sparked a social media frenzy when it announced it had created a brand-new reality TV show – Love Aisleland – which would allow shoppers to apply for their chance to find love in the supermarket aisle.

However, after garnering over 8,000 likes for its posts on the show, the retailer apologised saying: “Although the idea was carefully reviewed within the business, it was seemingly not shown to legal. This was by no means ‘on purpose’ or ‘because they kill all the fun’.”

The post goes on to say: “Because of this, our boss has now confirmed that legally the show cannot go ahead and that although we give off the vibe that we love court cases, they are incredibly costly and going forward with this plan would not be ‘within our best interest’.

We are, however, committed to the idea of finding love in the aisles and hope that you will continue to join us in store to find your one true match. It might just have to be Mr Ribeye instead of Mr Right.”

Peshwari for Playstations

Electrical retailer Currys has launched a new service which swaps old devices and other unwanted tech for a spicy meal, as it encourages shoppers to exchange their e-waste for a curry.

As part of the unorthodox recycling scheme, the tech retailer’s customers can exchange old tech for a free curry as well as a voucher worth at least £5 to put towards their next purchase using the Currys Cash for Trash initiative. 

“We decided enough is enough of feeling like the fool, so we are trialling our Curries for Tech scheme, allowing shoppers to help save e-waste from landfill while also getting their curry kick for free,” said brand and marketing director Dan Rubel.

The four curry options are Mixer Masala, Air Fried-Aloo, Crock Potato Vindaloo, and Currys’ Curry.

Milk shots for hot spots

Forget your deep fried Mars bar or peanut butter and jam sandwich, the latest crazy culinary combo doing the rounds is milk and crisps. Specifically, milk and Walkers Extra Flamin’ Hot crisps.

Pepsico will be selling milk shots alongside its hot new flavour, available across the Walkers MAX, Doritos and Wotsits Crunchy range, as research reveals some Brits can’t handle the heat.

The ‘Not Extra Flamin’ Hot Milk’ will hit the shelves today and will be on sale for “as long it takes for the British taste buds to mature to the spicy new favour”, according to head of brand innovation Dalila FopsRoy.

The decision to “move into milk” is not a knee jerk reaction, said FopsRoy. “We’ve examined the data and there are certain parts of the country that, to put it lightly, can’t take the heat.”

‘Not Extra Flamin’ Hot Milk’ will go on sale initially in Belfast, where 41% have either a low, or no tolerance to spicy food. A nationwide rollout will follow, with the most heat intolerant parts of the UK being prioritised.

Sweet smell of success

Discount retailer Poundland is launching innovative ‘click and sniff’ technology for its new fragrance ranges, allowing online shoppers to experience the scents from the comfort of their own home.

Powered by an AI algorithm, each of the fragrances in Poundland’s ranges have been digitised so they can be experienced by potential consumers with a simple click and sniff.

The ‘Loop-Lafri’ tech comes as Google says approximately 40 billion molecules have an odour but only 100 million of those molecules have been identified to date and their new AI model is analysing data to help identify currently unknown scents.

Poundland’s Tom Hill was thrilled to be launching the tech, saying it “opens up a whole new opportunity” for the discount retailer.

Pineapple on pizza perfection

It’s time for Hawaiian pizza lovers to rejoice, as Dole Sunshine Company has launched a world first with its latest innovation.

April Fools' Day is the perfect chance for brands to take a more light-hearted approach to marketing. We round-up the best (and worst) jokes of 2024

As the pizza topping which consistently sparks debate, Dole is throwing down the gauntlet as it leans into the flavour combination that divides the nation, with the launch of canned ham and pineapple.

Dubbed ‘the tinned Hawaiian’, Dole’s Head of Innovation April Asinus comments: “We know that there’s a growing tribe of Hawaiian pizza lovers out there and we’re convinced this new can will become a cult kitchen must-have in no time.

“Cooking with it couldn’t be easier either, just open the can and away you go – a Hawaiian pizza topping in seconds!”

Sizzle and scribble

Leading high-street stationer Ryman has announced the launch of a new range of breakfast-scented gel pens, with a brightly coloured selection of fry-up fragrances, including Smoky Bacon Pink, Burnt Black Pudding and Bright Baked Bean.

Created in collaboration with the nation’s top greasy spoon chefs, the unique recipes contain real extracts of bacon, sausage, fried egg and more.

Ryman head of marketing Chloe Danskin said: “We’re helping Brits enjoy an all-day buffet of their favourite morning meal. Who wouldn’t enjoy a whiff of grease and meat as they sizzle and scribble through the workday?”

Once opened, the pens must be kept in the fridge and used within three days.

Scent de sawdust

DIY retailer Toolstation has launched three new fragrances inspired by scents of the trade, including Sawdust Seduction, Plumbers Paradise and Welding Whisper.

The product description reads: “Bask in elegant tones of fragrances that transcend time itself. Awaken your soul with notes of sawdust, unveil a captivating journey through the rich scents of plumbing, and ignite the flames of desire with whispers of welding.”

Toolstation customer director Chris Other says: “You know that when you spray Sawdust Seduction you are getting the best quality at a market leading price that you won’t find anywhere else.

“We know our trade and DIY customers have such a passion for their work and wanted to introduce fragrances that reflect this.”

Driving Miss Doggy

Honda has launched a state-of-the-art Pet Activated Wireless System – or PAW-S – for customer’s furry friends. The ground-breaking system allows dogs to get into the car and access a plethora of canine-friendly amenities, without the need for any owner intervention.

To create PAW-S, Honda’s pet product team surveyed more than 300 dogs to find out what makes them wag, before using this insight to create a first of its kind, nose-activated system.

Honda head of pet products Annie Mal said the auto brand have been “working tirelessly with canine colleagues to grow [our] dog-friendly offering”.

Honda’s Pet Activated Wireless System will be available for other domestic animals in the next six months, with optional extras catering to cats, rabbits and pygmy goats.

The ref should have gone to…

A former Premier League referee has been revealed as the social media admin behind Specsavers’ quick-witted VAR tweets,

Each week, Mike Dean’s quick-witted VAR-themed tweets have kept social media buzzing with conversation, as fans flock to X to discuss the latest decisions on the pitch.

Commenting on his unmasking, Dean – who has been responsible for some of Specsavers most popular VAR posts on X – says: “It’s hard to believe that someone like me could be the Specsavers admin. But I just love the power.”

Uranus: the final frontier

Sustainable toilet paper brand Who Gives A Crap is sending a roll of toilet roll to Uranus; a world-first journey of approximately 2 billion miles to the largely unexplored planet (and the furthest a toilet roll has ever travelled!).

While billionaires are busy chucking cars into space and taking their midlife crises to the moon, Who Gives A Crap is going where no toilet paper has gone before as it teams up with the aerospace industry’s boldest and brightest to explore a new frontier.

Maria Chilewicz, head of brand at Who Gives A Crap, said: “We’re all about surprising and delighting consumers and are always on the hunt for wild ideas that help us uncrap the world and make it fun to do good.”

Find out more at www.tptouranus.com

Make your kitchen sparkle

Lakeland has created the world’s first diamond-studded air fryer to celebrate its 60th anniversary on the UK high street. Encrusted with 52,000 diamonds, the glittery gadget will be protected by a 24.7 security guard.

A recent Lakeland survey discovered that over 45% of UK homes now own an air fryer, making it the perfect product to receive a glow-up during the brand’s 60th diamond anniversary year. The new luxury version works just like a classic air fryer, but with added sparkle.

“Typically 60th anniversaries are celebrated with diamonds here in the UK, so we thought that creating a diamond-embellished version of one of our more popular products felt like the perfect way to celebrate,” said the retailer.

THIS play the Trump card

Former US president Donald Trump has agreed to change his name to ‘Donald J Rump’, in honour of the latest new product from plant-based food company THIS. Created using cutting-edge technology, the THIS Isn’t Beef Rump replicates the texture and flavour of traditional beef rump steak, but without the environmental impact.

Trump flew THIS team members out to Washington on a private jet, before announcing the partnership to the world’s media.

Co-founder Andy Shovel said “All we’ve ever set out to do is make plant-based food great again, and now we have a huge and beautiful partnership to help us make it all happen.’’

Mr Rump also expressed his excitement about the collaboration, adding: “THIS Isn’t Beef Rump is tremendous, folks. It’s the best, believe me. And with my endorsement, you know it’s going to be huge!”

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