A four-decade compendium of retail brands’ April Fools’ pranks

Left-handed Whoppers. Clip-on man buns. Velveeta night cream. This is the day brands go counterfactual.
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Burger King

· 5 min read

Many brands sat out their annual tradition of playing April Fools’ pranks in 2020, at the onset of the pandemic.

“When times are good and brands want to show their humor and personality, it can be positive,” Joe Baratelli, EVP and chief creative officer at RPA, a Los Angeles-based ad agency, told Adweek in 2020. “When things are serious, it’s probably not the time to be messing with people.”

But the tradition for companies to punk consumers on April 1 is in full force again, and stretches back decades. Some land and some don’t, but we’re not the Humor Police, so it’s up to you to decide which are which:


 A print ad for a rain-proof sunroof, a BMW April Fool's prank from 1983.


BMW’s sunroof that doesn’t let rain in

BMW has a long tradition of April Fools’ pranks, and the first, in newspaper ads in 1983, trumpeted a sunroof that didn’t let rain in, even when the Beemer was stationary or going through a car wash.


The Taco Liberty Bell

In full-page ads in newspapers including the Philadelphia Inquirer and the New York Times, Taco Bell announced it had agreed to buy the Liberty Bell “to help the national debt,” and would rename it the Taco Liberty Bell.

Some members of Congress reportedly thought it sounded plausible enough to call the National Park Service, which called a press conference to say that no, the story didn’t, in any sense, ring true.


Left-handed Whopper

Burger King placed a full-page ad in USA Today introducing the left-handed Whopper. To make the burger more southpaw-friendly, the ad stated, “all condiments rotated 180 degrees, thereby redistributing the weight of the sandwich so that the bulk of the condiments will skew to the left, thereby reducing the amount of lettuce and other toppings from spilling out the right side of the burger."


Warby Barker, eyeglasses for dogs

Warby Parker co-founders Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa appeared in a YouTube video announcing the launch of Warby Barker, a line of affordable eyewear for dogs. “It doesn’t make any sense to spend several hundred dollars on something that your dog’s just going to eat,” Gilboa explained in the video. Today the brand still maintains the @warbybarker Instagram account which features photos of bespectacled dogs that you’ll find adorable…unless you’re dead inside.


Hunter Boot’s open-toe Wellingtons

“Bringing you the latest in product innovation,” Hunter Boots announced on Instagram, “today we unveil the #ORIGINALOPENTOE Wellington boot.”

 An ad for Caribou Clear coffee, a Caribou April Fool's prank from 2014.

Caribou Coffee

Caribou Clear coffee

“In nationwide surveys, coffee drinkers told researchers the No. 1 complaint they have about their beloved drink is the way it stains,” Caribou Coffee explained in a press release announcing its clear brew.

Domino’s UK Edibox

Domino’s UK introduced the Edibox, a pizza box made from baked pizza dough, which it called “the future of snackaging” in a tweet.


Asos clip-on man bun

The brand announced its clip-on man bun would be a “game changer” and was coming soon. (Sadly, it did, just not from Asos.)


Hot Topic’s Golden Girls fashion collection

“The fact that this isn’t real,” @thellife commented on a video introducing the collection on YouTube, “is the cruelest joke ever!”

Burger King France’s Single Fries

Just like it sounds, it’s a single fry, wrapped in paper like a Tootsie Roll. “After a Whopper, who still has room for an entire bag of fries?” (Um, everyone?) asked the description for the YouTube video.



It “gives pets the freedom to place orders from Amazon, and to activate smart home-enabled toys,” Amazon explained on YouTube.

Burger King’s Whopper Toothpaste

Tagline: “Keep your mouth Whopper fresh.”

Coffee Mate Natural Bliss’s coffee-flavored coffee creamer

From the Department of Redundancy Department.

Petco DooDoo Drone

Your labradoodle just did her business and you forgot the bags? Open the app and soon a pooper-scooper attached to a drone airlifts it away.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts World, a Krispy Kreme April Fool's prank from 2017.

Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts World

The brand announced it was building a doughnut-themed park in Perth, Australia, which some fell for because it’s as plausible as Hersheypark.


Desert Dusk Sand , a Huda Beauty April Fool's prank from 2018.

Huda Beauty

Huda Beauty’s Desert Dusk Sand

Nature’s exfoliant: It’s just a bag of sand. “It’s honestly a miracle product made up of just ONE ingredient, which will make your skin SOOOOO silky smooth and bright,” Huda’s website enthused.

Lego VacuSort

Vacuum up Lego pieces and they get sorted in the canister. Matty Benedetto—who we featured recently after he made a 50-foot-long CVS receipt rug—took a stab at building one of these.


McDonald’s Australia McPickle

Instead of burgers, there are two layers of stacks of pickle chips.

Kingfisher Instant Beer

A breakthrough to enable making pitchers of beers from small packets by just adding water.


V by Velveeta skin care line

“Feel the magnificence of melty moisturization,” coos the voiceover in the video Velveeta posted to X. The substance shown in the night cream jar does indeed appear to be melted cheese product.

Pringles Tingles Salt & Vinegar lip balm

For date night, pairs well with Whopper toothpaste.


Tushy dating show, It Takes #2

Bidet maker Tushy managed to imagine a way to make dating even more awkward. It’s a dating show where two “sexy singles” are sent on a blind date and…they’re both productively perched on toilets that face one another. Trigger alert: There are sound effects.


Budweiser’s Budbnb, like Airbnb but instead bedding down in a barn stall typically used by the brand’s iconic Clydesdales. It’s what the brand refers to in an X post as the “ultimate hay-cation.”


Saucony changes name to Sock-a-knee

In an oddly instructive prank, Saucony, the running-shoe brand that only those who’ve completed marathons pronounce correctly, changes its name to an impossible-to-mangle phonetic spelling. “So you can finally say it right,” an Instagram post explains.

Chuck E. Cheese Weddings

“Love is in the air,” the brand declared on YouTube, “and it smells like pizza.” Instead of a bouquet toss, how about cotton candy?

McDonald’s UK Big McNugget Boot

Not as comfortable as Uggs, but almost as preposterous looking.

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