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6 Digital April Fools

As you well may have noticed, today is April Fool’s Day. The tradition (In Britain anyway), is that you can prank or play a joke on somebody making them an April Fool. This is only valid on April 1st and up until noon – Any pranks taken after that will result in the joker being the April Fool.

It’s no surprise that big corporations such as Google, YouTube and even the BBC have jumped on this bandwagon in order to prank the general public, after all it’s all so serious for the rest of the year. Companies do this in order to show their personalities and take part in the little bit of fun that’s going on around the world.

In this post, I’ll be looking at some of the biggest companies April Fool’s Day pranks.

1. Google’s Comic Sans Prank

If there’s one thing that most people with an ounce of intelligence hate, it’s the font Comic Sans. In 2010 on April 1st, Google sent out an announcement on their homepage which informed users that Comic Sans will become the default font for all search results. This didn’t go down very well until it was realised that it was a prank. The company still offers an extension of Chrome which allows the font on all webpages to be changed to Comic Sans. A Graphic Designer’s worst nightmare!

2. YouTube’s Viewing Experience

In 2009, viewers were surprised whilst loading their favourite cat videos that the whole webpage had been turned upside down. This meant that viewers would need to rotate their monitors in order to watch a video. The pages were accompanied with a ‘Tips for viewing the new layout’ page which suggest users hang their monitors from the ceiling. It’s scary to think how many people actually did this…

3. BBC’s Flying Penguins

Wait…What? You read correctly. In 2008, the BBC broadcasted a ground breaking feature narrated by Terry Jones claiming that they had found a breed of flying penguins. This included CGI effects of Jones walking with the penguins as they flew above, supposedly migrating to the Amazon. Watch the clip here.

4. Google’s ‘Virgle’

On April Fool’s Day in 2008, Google announced that they would be participating in a joint project with Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. The project would be named ‘Virgle’ and will see the 2 companies joining forces in order to create a human settlement on Mars. The report was accompanied with videos of Branson as well as Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin…What’s not to believe?

5. YouTube’s Rickroll

Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna run around and desert you!

The popular internet craze of ‘Rickrolling’ each other was taken to the extreme by YouTube in 2008. All featured videos on the homepage including subscribed channels and recommended videos linked to Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ when clicked through. The prank caused some frustration in the UK and Australia where the prank took place – YouTube found it so funny that later in the day they rolled it out internationally.

6. BBC’s Spaghetti Trees

This is possibly my favourite prank of all time. On April 1st 1957, the BBC broadcasted a special edition of the popular programme Panorama. The special was about the extinction of the Spaghetti Weevil, a notorious little blighter that eats all the spaghetti from trees.

Notice anything strange? Spaghetti wasn’t that common in 1950’s Britain so the general public had nothing to doubt about the BBC’s prank. The clever trick resulted in a record number of letters to head office from the public asking where they could purchase spaghetti plants from. Watch the clip here.

Did you catch someone out with an April Fool this morning? or Did you see one you thought was great?

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