We love a good joke, so April Fools is one of our favorite holidays. Last year we introduced Sprocket Vision, and this year you may have seen my article about Google's "Starfish" update -- I got a few of you! Fortunately, plenty of ecommerce companies also love to pull one over on unsuspecting consumers, so we broke down a few of our favorites for you so we can see what made them a success.
ThinkGeek’s Laser-Guided Tactical Necktie
On a site like ThinkGeek, picking out a laser necktie as the April Fools gag isn’t easy. So many of the other products available run in the same general vein. That’s why we love this one so much. We had to read the product description, which was beautifully written to include all the necessary information, before we realized a necktie with all these features would surely be too heavy to wear without risking strangulation.
Famous Smoke Shop’s Electronic Cigar Sampler
Cigar lovers everywhere rejoiced for about ten seconds when Famous Smoke Shop announced the USB-powered cigar sampler on April 1. Of course, after a moment of thought, we all realized technology just isn’t there yet, but oh the joy that came with the idea. What do we love most about this gag? The call-to-action button right there at the bottom. Upon clicking, users are finally let in on the joke with an April Fools landing page.
Lululemon’s Spray-On Yoga Pants
Taking the cue from Jimmy Kimmel, Lululemon introduced spray-on yoga pants as their big gag. The product comes in a spray can that resembles Pledge furniture polish and apparently contains enough material for 1200 pairs. We love that they not only let someone laugh at their company, but they also took the joke and ran with it. Where they really take the cake, though, is the reviews, showing serious social proof for this product.
CaféPredict from CaféPress
Oh, the pros and cons of personalization! We’ve covered many times the ways that personalization can creep right into creepy territory if you’re not careful. CaféPress seems to agree with us, as evidenced by their offering on April 1. As a not-so-subtle dig at Amazon's latest plan to ship your orders before you actually order them, the CaféPredict project takes everything known about you from your dealings on the internet and uses that information to create and deliver products you didn’t even know you wanted, all with a little help from the NSA.
There’s so much about this one that we love. A glove that lets you interact with your smartphone? Seems like we’re just around the corner from that kind of technology anyway, doesn’t it? Where HTC really did this one right, though, was incorporating actual hand signals with the glove’s functionality. To “like” something on Facebook, all you have to do is give a thumbs-up with your glove. Brilliant.
Cat videos have become such an integral part of the internet, thanks to pioneers like ICanHazCheezburger. This site paved the way for cats to become famous, like Grumpy Cat, Maru, Colonel Meow, and Hamilton the Hipster. LinkedIn recognized a need and filled it. Now we can connect with any famous cat the same way we can with business associates and colleagues with Cats You May Know. Even cats need to network, right?
ModCloth’s DIY Toupees
The online clothing retailer has such a reputation for starting trends that I had to look twice when this Instagram hit my feed. Even toupee shoulder pads really could be the fashion of the future if ModCloth willed it so. They even offer a how-to guide for using toupees in other fashionable ways. Why does this one really hit home for us? The use of Instagram as the delivery method for their gag, of course.
American Eagle’s American Beagle
This is by far our favorite April Fools gag because the joke turned serious in an instant. American Eagle Outfitters announced a new clothing line for dogs and was met with such excitement they decided to do the thing for real. American Beagle will introduce a limited line of pet fashions this fall, with proceeds benefitting the ASPCA.
Which of these gags got it just right? Topping these jokes next year will take 12 months of planning. Are you already developing your next April Fools joke?
Originally published Apr 11, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016