When April Fools Marketing Goes Wrong

Erik Bernstein Crisis Prevention 2 Comments

It’s practically become a spectator sport to watch for marketing mistakes after any calendar event, and April Fools 2018 did not disappoint. There were numerous examples to choose from, like the French mayor who thought it would be a great laugh to get the town excited about new jobs that weren’t actually coming, or a reality star who stirred up drama by announcing a fake pregnancy, but this one caught our attention (and our imaginations!).

Here’s the notification that went out to the AutoAnything.com mailing list April 1:

…and HERE is the apology that went out what felt like moments later:


A misstep like this isn’t putting anyone out of business but you can bet it resulted in costs that could have been avoided. You’re looking at lost productivity due to dealing with customer contacts, more lost productivity because you have to pull executive-level team members away from normal duties to deal with the PR response itself, along with what was likely a number of negative posts to social media and review sites. In the end avoiding the apology is always less expensive – before putting out any communication ask yourself how it could be misinterpreted, if something about it might upset your audience, and whether it actually needs to be sent at all.

Erik Bernstein

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Comments 2

  1. Michelle Jordan

    And among the biggest April Fool blunders of all from Elon Musk. Anything but a joke for a friend who was taking delivery that following week . What you tweet on Sunday is what customers read on Monday!

    “After the worst month for Tesla Inc. shares in more than seven years, punctuated by company blog posts about the death of a Model X driver, Elon Musk is joking about his electric-car maker going bankrupt.
    “Despite intense efforts to raise money, including a last-ditch mass sale of Easter Eggs, we are sad to report that Tesla has gone completely and totally bankrupt,” the chief executive officer wrote in an April Fools’ Day tweet on Sunday.”

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