April Fools’ Day — once infamous for cling-wrapped toilet seats, toothpaste-filled Oreos and the birth of the Weasley twins — has transformed into a wildly marketable holiday for companies, granting them a free pass to dupe consumers for ‘fun’ and, you know, money. Even if you didn’t wake up to an app telling you that you were pregnant last Saturday and momentarily believe it (thanks, theSkimm), odds are you fell for some of the other ridiculous, clever or downright mean April Fools’ pranks made by brands and celebrities this year.
Snapchat is tired of copycats
Although Snapchat has faced accusations of whitewashing, black face and general lazy weirdness with some of its “lens” filters in the past, the company is obviously the one to beat, having set the trends of facial recognition software, augmented reality and photo-video “stories” that are sweeping social media. As the OG trendsetter, it’s more than a little annoyed by companies like Instagram and Facebook that have taken its central ideas (stories and photo messaging) and done little to adapt them before incorporating them into their own platforms.
On April Fools’ Day, Snapchat decided to get cheeky and create a fixed filter that made the user’s photo look exactly as though it had been posted to Instagram. The highlight is the extra burn of the default “like” on the photo from a user called “my_mom,” implying that Instagram is reserved for family-friendly material while Snapchat is where the cool kids are. Snapchat: 1, Instagram: 0.
Celebrities premiere new looks on Instagram
Ah, the classic makeover prank. Although not exactly original, faking a dramatic haircut or style choice is a safe go-to for April Fools’ that we’ve seen time and time again, but it can still be jarring. Gigi Hadid posted a selfie Instagram on Saturday with her hair bleached and cropped into a pixie cut, a stark change from her usual long and dark blonde locks. Some fans were extremely distressed, but she was quick to reveal it as a prank. The popular Instagram @thegaybeards also posted a photo of the typically bearded pair with their famous beards shaved right off. Luckily, it was an old photo, as one commenter noted from the outdated iPhone model.
Google and Amazon launch alternative home assistants
Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home have been successful at bringing the internet of things and Siri-like assistants into everyday homes, but for April Fools’, both brands decided to go further and premiered tongue-in-cheek videos about new products: Amazon with Petlexa and Google with Google Gnome. Petlexa acts as a home assistant for your animals, allowing them to eerily ‘voice’ control the device and, say, order a million rawhide treats online. But Google takes the cake with their sassy Google Gnome, an assistant that will only complete outdoor tasks and will certainly let you know when you’re being dumb with your requests. Honestly, there could be a real market for either one.
Dunkin’ keeps it Boston
Lastly, in a hilariously self-aware move, Dunkin’ Donuts shared a pun-filled press release on Saturday about “Vanilla Nut Tap Munchkins,” a new menu item inspired by an SNL digital short about the company featuring Boston native Casey Affleck. Dunkin’ claimed to be selling the buttercream-filled munchkins at limited locations around the country in collaboration with SNL before revealing it to be an April Fools’ prank. Despite the gross anatomy-related puns and shaming of Boston natives involved in the campaign, the treats do look like they’d make a decent breakfast.