By

Chris Green

Published on

April 1, 2016

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You can’t trust what you read or hear in the news, today at least. It’s April Fools Day – the one time of the year when the rules of truth and accuracy are put aside in the name of good-natured trickery.

The origins of April Fools Day can be found in history as far back as the Roman festival of Hilaria. Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales makes reference to trickery on the first day of April back in 1382, though there is some dispute as to whether this was actually just a typo. Either way, the notion of the first day of April being a time for good-natured trickery and pranks is well-entrenched in history and culture.

Today, April Fools Day is not quite as enthusiastically celebrated in society, but the spirit is kept alive by the media, which gleefully takes the opportunity to trick viewers, listeners and readers every year with a collection of funny, bizarre and so-strange-it-might-be-true stories and adverts. It’s an opportunity for journalists, marketers and PR professionals to stretch their creativity, freed from the burden of truth and accuracy.

2016 is no different, and we’ve pulled together some of the best April Fool’s jokes for your amusement – although not everyone rose to the challenge.

best april fools day tweet unicorn milk

Newspapers April Fools Day Jokes:

The Guardian
Prince Phillip, the Greek-born and gaffe-prone Duke of Edinburgh and husband of the Queen, to campaign for the UK to remain in Europe.

The I
London Mayor, possible future Prime Minister and avid bicycle-botherer Boris Johnson wants to pave over the UK’s canals, turning them into cycle super highways.

The Daily Mail
Actress Olivia Coleman to be the next James Bond.

The Telegraph
England to be barred from the Euro 2016 football tournament if it votes in favour of Brexit.

The Independent
Scotland and Wales to form own country if UK leaves the EU.

April Fools Day Jokes from Brands:

BMW
The car maker is a big fan of April Fools Day and creates a spoof ad every year. This year it launched of BMW-branded baby boots that integrate with the X Drive system in your high-end BMW car.


First Direct
The online and telephone banking arm of HSBC launched Save Zap, an anti-spending wearable device capable of recognising a wearer’s location and zapping them with a taser-like electric shock when they get too close to a shop they’ve set as a no-go area.

Virgin Active
The gym chain announced Personal Trainers, footwear with built-in speakers designed to motivate and guide you through a workout. The laces can’t be undone until 2,000 calories have been burned.

Burger King
Burger King in health-conscious France has started selling single fries.

Beefeater

The chain of steak restaurants has announced Beefeater Steak Tan. It claims to be the world’s first fake tan made using real steak juices.

beefeater steak fake tan april fools day joke

Pimms
The drinks brand has bought branding rights for London’s iconic Big Ben clock tower.

Skoda
The car manufacturer has added dog umbrellas to its range of useful pet accessories.

Dog-umbrella-april-fools-joke
Cath Kidston
The designer brand has launched floral paint.

cath kidston floral paint

BCC Earth Asia
BBC Earth Asia introduced Skyla, their first blue panda.

Blue panda BBC Asia April Fools Joke

Trader Joe’s
The beloved American grocery chain plans to shut up shop.


Virgin America

Richard Branson features in a video celebrating their new logo.

Mark Zuckerberg for H&M
H&M’s newest celebrity collection is based on Mark Zuckerberg’s signature look.

mark zuckerberg clothing line april fools

April Fool?

Of course, not all April Fools stories are immediately obvious.

You may have read on This Week in Social that Instagram has put an end to “secret stalking” If you make a habit of scrolling through the Instagram pages of new crushes and old exes, we advised you to stop as Instagram has quietly turned on a new feature that notifies users when someone has visited their profile. Surprise – and happy April Fool’s Day.

Don’t feel bad – there have been many examples over the years of people falling for plausible joke stories and even dismissing real stories as April Fools gags.

For example, e-invoicing company Basware shocked users by sending out fake invoices to highlight the problem of fraud. Less recently, a BMW dealership that was offering a too-good-to-be-true trade-in offer that was indeed true, but was largely ignored as a prank. The spaghetti trees in Switzerland and Virgin’s 1989 fake UFO are still remembered decades later – because a good joke never gets old.

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