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Best Social Media Ads for April Fools

Joke advertisements on April Fools are risky. A poorly received joke could spark a public backlash and negatively affect your brand. All the while, brainstorming and executing a practical joke takes time and energy away from your actual business. Nevertheless, April Fools might allow your business to show a sense of humor and strengthen ties with your audience, especially among devoted fans. Let’s review some of the most popular social media jokes from April 1, 2024.

Huge corporations clearly have a bigger budget for advertising, but smaller organizations can still succeed with a relatable sense of humor. Lego made a whole promotion for a "Supersized Tim" Minion with 102,213 (mostly yellow) bricks and a 8,947-page instruction manual. After April 1st, the joke pivoted into an announcement for real Despicable Me 4 Lego sets.

Are you planning an April Fools stunt for your company? Here are three big tips:

Giant Lego minion prank for April Fools 2024
Commercial for Giant Lego Minion
  • Probably, just... don’t? Jokes unpredictably fall flat, and playing it "safe" doesn't always help.
  • Sell it (or sell something): Funny products can still be real promotions. (Or pivot into a sale like Urban Outfitters.)
  • Go big with people you trust: Lego and 7-Eleven have teams with a relatable sense of humor.

April Fools Ads from Big Brands

Compared to recent years, 2024 wasn't a big year for April Fools gags. The Dole banana sleeping bag looks like an AI-generated image, which begs the question of whether more companies will take advantage of AI in future years. Where a big real-world stunt or graphic design work could get expensive for small and medium businesses, it's relatively quick and easy to generate a funny image with AI. A few brands like Dunkin' Donuts actually produced merch to sell in connection with their April Fools joke:

Dole banana-centric sleeping bag for April Fools
Dole's banana sleeping bag
7-Select Hot Dog Sparkling Water April Fools
7-Eleven offered Hot Dog Sparkling Water
Scotch by Scotch Brand April Fools Instagram
Scotch tape posted to Instagram about a new single malt
Heinz UK Ketchup Toning Shampoo Prank
Heinz UK posted Ketchup Shampoo
dunkin donuts name april fools swag
Dunkin' Donuts dropped the "Dunkin" and sold Merch
Krispy Kreme Glaze Anything April Fools
Krispy Kreme offered to glaze anything

Major brands with marketing teams can make mistakes, too. Then again, relatively wholesome jokes turn April Fools into an opportunity for creativity. Urban Outfitters ran a "Name Three Shirts" campaign on Instagram in 2024, referencing the familiar gatekeeping cliche: Classic rock fans might get tired of seeing their favorite band's logo worn by people who don't listen to the band's music. A suspected fake might be challenged to "name three songs" by the band on their T-shirt.

image from Urban Outfitters name three shirts promotion for April Fools
The Urban Outfitters "Name Three Shirts" joke linked to a discount landing page.

Not just opportunities for creative advertising, April Fools can be a time for brands to collaborate. 7-Eleven, Inc. teamed up with Miracle Seltzer to pull off the Hot Dog Water stunt. Similarly, Rosetta Stone joined forces with Fluent Cannabis (slogan "We Speak Cannabis") to run a chuckle-worthy ad for Rosetta "Stoned" on April Fools.

It's a tricky balance, finding inoffensive topics that still get a laugh. Marijuana has inspired all kinds of screwball comedies, and yet the current legalization process is not without controversy. Check out our blog for a few of the ways that marijuana rescheduling is affecting the trucking industry:

image from Rosetta Stoned Fluent Ad for April Fools
Rosetta "Stoned" Ad with Fluent
Blog post about Marijuana and Recruiting Costs
Read more aboutMarijuana and Recruiting Costs.

Major brands and billionaires can make mistakes with humor. Ever one to make headlines, Elon Musk tweeted about taking over DEI for Disney in 2024. His past jokes show how April Fools shenanigans can be risky. In 2018, Musk tweeted that Tesla was going bankrupt, but the joke wasn't as amusing to shareholders. In 2023, Twitter announced that it would "wind down" the legacy checkmarks from verified profiles on April 1st, causing uncertainty about whether the announcement was yet another April Fools joke. Weeks later, when paid check marks replaced the symbol for verified accounts, it made it harder to distinguish between fake profiles and real organizations.

Police Department Jokes for April Fools

April first isn't just an opportunity for marketing for-profit businesses. Local police departments and other law enforcement agencies use April Fools to connect with their communities. It's no substitute for long term community outreach, but a funny social media post can remind the public that law enforcement officers include people with a sense of humor. Judging by posts in 2024, a few jokes seem to be recycled pretty frequently:

St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Deputy Ollie the Otter
STPSO's Deputy Ollie the Otter
  • New vehicle unit: Puyallup PD boasted a Roller Unit and Wausau showed off a kayak
  • An unlikely animal: Claremont's "Goat Enforcement" and STPSO Deputy Ollie the Otter
  • Donuts and firemen: Stereotypes and rivalries work pretty well on April Fools.
  • Get out of jail free cards: It might be better to avoid jokes that require disclaimers.
Puyallup Police Department Roller Unit April Fools
Puyallup Police Department Roller Unit
Wausau Police Department Kayak Unit April Fools
Wausau Police Department Kayak Unit
Joliet Police Department April Fools Out of Jail Free Card
Joliet PD's Get Out of Jail Free Card
Mendon Police Department April Fools 2024
Mendon PD Donut Crime Scene
Claremont Police Department Goat Enforcement April Fools
Claremont PD Goat Enforcement
West Yellowstone PD Fire Trap April Fools
West Yellowstone PD Fire Trap

“Fool me once, strike one. But fool me twice . . . strike three.”

— Michael Scott

April Fools Posts for the DOT and NHTSA

You might think the DOT keeps all their funniest workers busy with slogans for traffic signs. Nevertheless, there's something funny about Croc-style shoes, especially with attachments like the NYSDOT's mini snow plows. Not to jump straight back to law enforcement, but the Western Australia Police Force made an impressive video with flashing lights for their Aprils Fool Croc Launch.

NYSDOT Croc Snow Plows
NYSDOT Snow Plow Crocs
NHTSA Notes for April Fools Day
NHTSA Notes for April Fools Day

Even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) posted for April Fools Day, albeit with a more sobering PSA. For businesses and organizations that want to engage with the public, it's usually not impossible to package some part of your message for April Fools, potentially reaching new audiences. Then again, "playing it safe" can result in an underwhelming post that's more awkward and stilted than funny.

Military and Defense Posts for April Fools

Have April Fools jokes become fair game for everyone? The F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office posted about "voice activated" camouflage, asking "Why settle for just stealth when you can be stylish too?" The images look pretty cool, but the F-35 program might have more discretionary funds for graphics and social media than typical business owners.

Military humor isn't popular with everyone, but veterans bring something special to the business world. Our Co-Founder Dave Gabbard proudly served in the US Signal Corps from 1975 to 1979, and his RATT rig was pretty far removed from the communications technology in an F-35.

F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office April Fools Leopard
Leopard Print F-35 Lightning II
Strip of text with subheading More Resources

Bohannon, Molly “Tinder Posts Ad For ‘VP Of Ghosting’: Here Are Some Of The Best April Fools’ Pranks By Companies In 2024” Forbes April 1, 2024

Davison, Tamara “April Fool's Day jokes round-up: the best pranks of the holiday as big brands join in” The Standard April 3, 2024

Khalid, Amrita “April Fools’ Day 2024: the best and cringiest pranks” The Verge April 1, 2024

Snider, Mike and Gabe Hauari “April Fools' Day pranks: Apps to translate baby stoner sayings, a ghostbuster at Tinder” USA Today April 1, 2024