On April first you can be sure that marketers want to be in on the prankvertising action, and this year is no exception.

Typical jokes range from small spoofs to elaborate fake campaigns and, here at Vidyard, we’re especially interested in how brands are using fun videos to add some unexpected value.

While there’s a fine line to tread between funny and a flop, here’s a few companies who did a great job with video this year:

WestJet Converts to Metric Time

Just a few months after they impressed everyone with their Christmas miracle video, WestJet reprises its role as a marketing master with their swap to metric time. In this latest release, Richard Bartrem, the brand’s VP of Communications recognizes that, as a proudly Canadian company, they seem to be missing a real Canadian component: the metric system.

This video was one of the best because of it’s tie-in with a flight promotion. Not only does the video encourage viewers to engage with the #WestJetMetric hashtag, but the company has a dedicated landing page on their site to announce the news, and travellers can use the promotion code LOL12 to, “save 20% on flights to Canadian, U.S., Mexico and Caribbean destinations (And that’s no joke)”.

Needless to say, there was some planning that went into this integrated video campaign, and it’s more than funny – it’s impressive. Known to make big announcements on April first, in 2012, WestJet introduced their new “Kargo Kids” program, a new way to fly with the little ones (also worth checking out).

Overall, a great tradition that’s resonating with brand fans and a great medium to get their message across.

Frito-Lay Releases a Fragrance

Another video trailblazer, known for their crowd sourced videos for the Doritos’ ‘Crash the Super Bowl’ contest, Frito-Lay used April Fools Day to announce their new fragrance, “Cheeteau”.

According to Ad Age, the brand is fully embracing the April Fools release; Frito-Lay will be sampling the new scent on the streets of New York along Madison Avenue today from 12-5pm.

This video certainly has the cheese factor, and the spoof Calvin Klein concept in combo with the live event is great marketing.

Gotta Catch ’em all With Google

Known for their video spoofs each year, Google didn’t disappoint with their Google Maps call for employees. They don’t want just anyone, though, they’re looking for Pokémon Masters.

As the VP of Google Maps, Brian McClendon reinforces in the video, Google hires the best and the skill set they’re looking for has a lot in common with digital explorers who can “navigate through tall grass to capture wild creatures”. Jokes aside, the video’s call to action encourages viewers to check out the company’s current job board.

With a video that appeals to the demographic Google is looking to hire, the brand has successfully communicated their culture, brought back some 90s Nintendo nostalgia, and showcased their sense of humor (not to mention a bit of their technology).

Embrace the Video Trend

Each of these brands are no stranger to using video in their marketing mix, and what’s notable here is the trend of using video on special occasions or milestone days. You can bet that as companies are filling out their editorial calendars April Fools Day, Valentines, Halloween, Christmas, the Fourth of July, and other holidays are scheduled for video releases. WestJet’s annual April Fools announcement is a great tradition and something your brand could start doing too. Based on the success of these video marketing initiatives, milestone releases should be on your content marketer’s radar.

Hats off to these three video marketing trailblazers, and if you have a few favourite videos from today that warrant a shout out, share them with a comment below!

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