The Fun Hoax Approach

Unlike its very easy-to-overlook, generic subject line ("TripAdvisor Update"), TripAdvisor went all out with this jam-packed space travel message, complete with fake traveler reviews! The entire email revolved around this theme, prompting readers to click and explore. Once clicking through, you end up on their April Fools' Day landing page where they shared out-of-this-world real-life tales from travelers that they've gathered via Facebook, Twitter and their blog! You can't help but be drawn in by these outrageous stories. They also offer "5 Space-Themed Attractions You Really Can Visit" - a smart way to offer up traveling ideas while still running with their catchy April Fools' theme. Groupon included a more subtle secondary April Fools' joke in its regular email send on April 1, advertising Groupöupon, its new "exclusive, invitation-only premium marketplace designed to enhance your status" - touting such items as "The World's Purest Water-Scented Fragrance" and a "Money Collage." Groupon went so far as to even create an online application for Groupöupon, wherein you share proof of your elite status (i.e. through an org chart of your 20-40 servants). Groupon created a great opportunity for engagement and may have even seen some viral sharing of the site. It's unfortunate that they didn't use any SWYN links in the email or highly visible "share" links on the Groupöupon site itself.  (I completely missed the tiny, gray-on-black "Brag about it" calls-to-action next to the products.)

The Play On Words Approach

Reminding me a bit of Adam Sandler-type talk, Fred Flare wished its subscribers a "Happy April Foos Day!" this year and sent a message highlighting its mini foosball table. I barely noticed the white font against the light gray background, but subscribers could click through to watch a video of the table in action.
Sephora took a very smart selling route with their "April Tool's Day" approach. The email featured all the latest and greatest beauty gadgets so that readers could get expert results at home. They continued with the April Fools' theme by mentioning "No Joke" and a fun product fact to prove each tool's effectiveness. Ultimately, Sephora successfully wrapped informational content in a holiday shell to drive product sales.

The Product Feature Approach

Etsy is probably the ULTIMATE champion in terms of businesses who capitalize on special occasions and holidays. They base their featured products entirely around themes and their April Fools' email is no different. They offer tons of silly gift ideas in the spirit of April Fools' and even offer additional product searches at the top based on keywords "joke" and "funny," enabling subscribers to find the perfect item to create some laughs. Interestingly, they also chose to go with the subject line of "Finest Rolex Watches" to further jest.

How can you take advantage of upcoming holidays to create engagement?

  • Incorporate humor, wit or a play on words, as long as it is appropriate for your subscribers.
  • Offer fun videos that capture the holiday theme.
  • Use social media platforms to host holiday discussions (i.e. "What was the best April Fools' joke you ever played? Let us know on our Facebook page!"), photos or contests.
  • Feature products that relate to the holiday.
What were your favorite engaging April Fools' emails this year? Let us know!