April Fools Day seemed particularly remarkable for marketers this year, not because of the number of pranks that brands pulled on consumers, or even the number of pranks that went viral, but because of the number of pranks that were actually *really* good ideas and perhaps shouldn’t be left as pranks.

  • Google Maps turned the world into a giant game of Pac-Man – surely a million dollar plus idea/app if anyone else had come up with this, but just another day for Google.
  • Game company Hyperkin, released a joke cover that turns an iPhone into a Gameboy, able to play original Gameboy cartridges. Within hours, the company realised this was, in fact, a commercial idea and decided to pursue making one for real.
  • And of course, there was this little prank that had Intentional subscribers reassuring us this was, in fact, a great idea – aptly messaging us while they themselves were on the throne.

So what is it about April Fool’s Day that causes so many great ideas to surface?

Lateral thinking guru, Dr Edward De Bono, has for years advocated humour as a source of lateral thinking and innovation. Humour connects two seemingly unconnected ideas in a way that is obvious in hindsight, but not apparent from the outset. Humour allows the storyteller to suspend a willing audience in disbelief, thereby lowering the risk of a ‘fail’ – since everyone accepts that it was ‘just’ a joke.

And even simpler than that, in this Connection Economy that we all now live in, pranks have an important quality that can’t be replicated – pranks prove to us that you’re human.

Perhaps everyday should be April Fools Day.

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