Is an April Fools Video Profitable?

How many of you woke up on April 1st to find your favorite brand announce a crazy new product or service?

Every year on April 1, organizations try to come up with ways to “trick” their fans/clients.  Some of them are not very good. Some of them were flat out awful (like Google’s ‘mic drop’ gag).

But some are brilliant.

I’m not going to list them off here. You’ve probably already seen them. What I want to talk about is if it’s profitable. Some of these pranks have taken a lot of planning, resources, time and money.  Do they pay off?

Every year, WestJet does an April Fools video. They’ve always had fun and done a great job with them.

Here is this year’s prank:

In just 14 hours, it has been seen over 214,000 times. That’s pretty awesome!

When we look at WestJet’s top performer videos on YouTube, their April Fools videos generate hundreds of thousands of views.  As you can see below, out of the almost 300 videos WestJet has posted, four of their April Fools videos are in the top 20, generating over 3 million views.


So does creating an April Fools video for your brand or organization pay off? What do think?  How much would it cost to pay for 3 million views on YouTube? Even at the low end of $.05 CPV (Cost Per View), it would cost WestJet just over $154,000 to generate the number of view their April Fools videos generated organically.

What makes a good April Fools Day video?

It’s too late for this year, but here are some suggestions to pull off a successful April Fools video next year:

  • Make it relative. When planning out your prank video, make sure that the topic is relative to your business.  This helps reinforce your services and/or products and is relatable to your audiences.
  • Make it fun. The best April Fools videos are fun and humorous. But don’t go too far from your brand voice.  If you brand voice is professional, don’t lower you standard for an April Fools video.
  • Make it professional. Just because it’s an April Fools prank doesn’t mean you can cut production quality. Make sure you have proper lighting, sound, and camera equipment.
  • Make it far-fetched. When you look at successful April Fools videos from brands, they promote a product or service that is so unbelievable (but related), that there’s no possible way consumers could be confused.
  • Plan. Plan. Plan. Any successful April Fools video has been planned, researched, and thought out months before April 1. Don’t wait until February or March to start planning. Write a script, storyboard, etc. Treat this as a commercial production.
  • Consider your audience. Unfortunately, this year, Google didn’t consider the ramifications their ‘Gmail Mic Drop’ prank would have on users. As you plan your video, consider the potential ramifications it may have on clients and the general public.  Make sure that you’re comfortable with the potential risk, however unlikely it will be.

What are some tips you’ve found when creating an April Fools video? What are some examples of the best brand April Fools videos you’ve seen?