We live in the future, and for the most part it’s amazing. The internet and smartphones put the world at our fingertips. And while communication technology brings news, entertainment, and food photos within our reach, it also makes it way easier for brands to attempt to relate to us. And if April Fool’s Day makes one thing clear, it’s that brands need to stop trying to be cute.
The branded April Fools’ tweet, email, and YouTube video have become such a big deal to companies that the phenomenon is creeping into March, with April Fool’s videos surfacing more than a week before April 1 and customers finding their inboxes clogged with annoying emails during the week leading up to it. So at the risk of indulging in nostalgia for a past when brands didn’t try to be so damn cute all the time, we find ourselves wondering: What happened to the good old days of replacing Oreo creme with toothpaste, filling a hair-dryer with baby powder, and covering the toilet bowl in plastic wrap?
So without further ado, here are the very worst attempts at April Fool’s pranks by brands that really need to stop:
Quilted Northern’s uSit Toilet Tracker
No. Stop. This is terrible. This video took promising joke material, poop, and turned it into something profoundly unfunny. It didn’t even contain the word “poop.”
SodaStream’s Nano Drop
This video, released on March 31, shows Paris Hilton wearing a piece of couture made from plastic trash. “Everything on me was found inside the stomachs of sea turtles,” she says. The only thing worse than a branded April Fool’s prank is one that offers a trite message of environmental awareness along with a bad joke. It’s the worst of both worlds.
Newegg’s 9-Screen Laptop
Oh, okay. It’s an electronic device that’s gone overboard with features. A 400-core CPU? Great joke.
Great, another smart device joke. Oh, this one’s for your pet? Wow, how hilarious. Please just stick to the things you’re good at, Amazon, like building monopolies.
It’s almost like a bunch of companies’ marketing departments got on a conference call and agreed to make terrible April Fool’s jokes about wearable technology.
Waymo’s Lava Practice
In the days following Waymo’s snow test, it seemed like a good idea to make this joke about a lava test, too. In reality, though, it was not a good idea. It was a bad idea. This is not cute.
Progressive’s Red Planet Protection
This one almost borders on being funny. Well, the concept is kind of funny. Okay, the concept isn’t even all that funny.
PornHub’s Automatic Video Sharing
This one’s pretty good, if only for the fact that it probably scared a lot of people.
Get it? It’s a sarcastic smart device exclusively for the outdoors. This one has funny moments, but the terrible wordplay makes it unforgivable.
Buffalo Wild Wings’s “Rally Beard Sauce”
It’s kind of great that this product looks so gross. But the video is too long, and it really missed an opportunity to go full-on Tim and Eric with gross noises and close-up visuals.
Snapchat’s Instagram Filter
Okay, we have to admit that Snapchat’s April Fool’s Day filter is actually not that bad. In 2016 Instagram bit Snapchat Stories, so for April Fool’s Day 2017, Snapchat copied Instagram’s feed format. The difference is that this shameless ripoff is just a prank.
KFC’s “The Bucket”
Great, another fucking smart home prank video. There’s really nothing to be said about this half-assed attempt at a hackneyed premise, especially since there’s not even a punchline.
Honda’s Horn Emojis
This one might be funny if the execution wasn’t so strange. You can barely distinguish the different horn sounds from one another. And before you say it, yes, we know it’s pointless to dissect a joke. But if Honda is making a fantasy world of horn emojis, couldn’t they have at least made them like a dog barking or a duck quacking?
OnlineLabels.com’s Drone Delivery
The concept of a drone delivering labels that will be used on snail mail is actually pretty funny. This April Fool’s Day prank ad, on the other hand, tries way too hard to be cute.
Lyft really outdid itself with this one, posting the Mono car-hailing glove video on March 17, and even producing a handful of prototypes. The thing is, this techy take on a hitchhiker’s thumb actually works. That means Lyft spent research and development resources on a product that it’s not really releasing. What a frustrating kicker to a terrible joke.
Seamless’s Delivery X
In yet another attempt to pander to youth customers, Seamless reaches back to 2005 with parkour- and skateboard-based food delivery. At one point in the video, a satisfied customer throws up the American Sign Language sign for “I love you,” in what is almost certainly some out-of-touch ad executive’s misguided attempt at a shaka or metal horns.
OpenAI’s Spam-Detecting Robot
Elon Musk-associated nonprofit OpenAI posted this video of a Spam detection robot to its blog today. Admittedly, the concept is kind of funny, as is the commitment to such a corny dad joke.
So whatever you do on April Fool’s Day, check your drinks for fake bugs before you swig them, look above doors for buckets of water before you open them, and please, for the love of all that is holy, avoid Twitter and your email inbox like the plague. That’s where the brands get you when you least suspect it.