Why brands pull April Fools' Day pranks
Captain Morgan Taco Rum release generated buzz for Captain Morgan White Rum
Although April Fools' Day can be a fun day of practical jokes for many, it can be a scary day for reporters. Last year, April Fools' Day fell on a Tuesday, which meant the Beverage Industry team was challenged to determine which news releases were real and which ones were jokes as we prepared our weekly Tuesday e-newsletter.
One such prank that caught us by surprise was a March 31 press release about Captain Morgan Taco Rum from Diageo. The press release described the product as a mix of “the Caribbean’s finest white rum with cheddar, jack and Chihuahua cheeses, green chilies, diced tomatoes and beef.”
However, this release had our fact-finding senses tingling, and the brand confirmed that it actually was a practical joke. But we wonder, why pull a prank in the first place?
For Captain Morgan, the goal of this prank was actually to generate media coverage and consumer awareness around its real new product, Captain Morgan White Rum, which launched in February 2014, according to Senior Brand Manager Nicola Heckles.
“In line with the brand’s upheld identity for defying conventions in pursuit of more fun, April Fools’ Day was targeted as a cultural event that should be leveraged to create buzz around the new product,” she says. “A holiday that reminds us to not take ourselves too seriously, April 1 is traditionally filled with light-hearted humor and trickery — a perfect fit for Captain Morgan.”
The prank actually helped the brand achieve its goals. The release was believable, given the rising trend of flavored spirits, inspired media and consumer conversation, and allowed for Captain Morgan White Rum to become front-and-center once the prank had been exposed, further generating consumer awareness, Heckles says.