April Fools History and Famous Examples

Of mockery, jokes, fun times, and peals of laughter —- April Fools Day has been embedded in us since the very day we can remember. A day where there is constant fun and pranks, everyone has looked forward to it and some even make plans ahead of time. Though this isn’t a festival, April Fools is a day of being able to be childish and just be accepted by everyone.

Yet, where did it actually originate? Was it made out of mockery? —- well, history tells us that there is no specific day or era when April Fools has begun. It is believed that it came from tradition and folklore, in different forms, not far from what we know it is today.

April Fools – A brief History

April Fools day did not have any specific day where it all started. Some would believe that it came from ancient Rome, where a festival called “Hilaria” was celebrated. It was a day of games, masquerades, and a time of relentless mocking, considerably participated by everyone, where even the highest leaders in the society back then had also actively participated. 

On another note, other historians would even consider festivals like Holi (Hindu), Sizdah Bedar (Persia), and Purim (Jewish), which were also considered one of the frontrunners of April Fools. All festivals also involved gaiety and fun, and frivolity, where everyone is free to throw powders, dress in costumes; basically enduring childishness and not thinking about seriousness at all.

Moreover, the Catholic Church also has the “Feast of Fools”. It was a carnival-like celebration around England and France, where people can also dress in costumes, reverse social roles, and even bring donkeys inside the church. However, it wasn’t done in April but celebrated in January.

Nonetheless, every continent has its version of where April Fools actually came about but one thing is for sure —- it created fun and merriment times.

Famous April Fools

Since then, different April Fools marketing ideas have circulated. Some even made great marks on their brands that almost everyone could recognize them up to this day.

Ever wondered how Australians were very much serious about pulling pranks? Here are some of the best ones ever done.

Spaghetti Prank by BBC

When you thought news outlets are not in any way considering a prank, BBC lets you think otherwise.

In 1957, Panorama, a BBC news program, aired a 3-minute broadcast of farmers picking spaghetti on trees. The program casually informed the viewers that there’s a place on the borders of Italy and Switzerland called Ticino and that it has already sprung flowers that make spaghetti strands. They even showed how it was processed, where it was handpicked and dried under the warm Alpine sun.

What even made it funnier is that viewers from around Australia called BBC about it, where they answered every caller to “Place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.”

Marmite Lip Therapy

Oh, how Australians love Marmite —- in 2011, the brand teamed up with Vaseline to pull one of the best April Fools marketing ideas in Australia to boost inquiries and sales.

As the Marmites tagline says “Love it or hate it.”, they have incorporated Marmite into lip balms to encourage everyone to have yeasty kisses. It gained media coverage and was also advertised in newspapers to confuse Australians about whether it’s actually true or not. Yet, in the end, Australians realized that the brand has a reputation for releasing unconventional products for April Fools.

Marmite lovers might have been so disappointed.

Doughnut Iced Latte in Can

If you love Krispy Kreme and pair their original glazed doughnuts with their Iced Latte so much, then you might have fallen for this prank.

As an April Fools marketing idea, the brand suddenly launched the product in 2022. Posting on their Instagram feed and pages, Krispy Kreme enticed people to try their “new” product, appealing to those who go crazy over their coffee and doughnuts. It was a canned drink with a doughnut and coffee concoction, and people were eager to find and try the product for themselves.

Nevertheless, the brand also featured a doughnut spread a year before, where people demanded the spread to be made available in the market.

People who inquired about this soon realized that they were being fooled, unknowingly minding the day that it was time for an April Fools prank.

There are still a lot of April Fool’s day pranks and marketing ideas revolving around Australia. Yet, one thing is for sure —- never ever fall for something that seems skeptical, especially at the height of April Fools!

Aubrey Hendrix
the authorAubrey Hendrix