First Click: April #Fools

April 1st, 2015


Journalists hate April 1st. News is hard enough to cover without #brands issuing press releases about fictitious products that often teeter on the edge of believability. Not long ago, companies felt obliged to prank publications in an attempt to trick writers into publishing their stories. Haha, you idiots fell for it. Now these companies are more transparent, even making us agree to time-and-date “embargoes” in exchange for receiving an early look. Every joke has to be vetted, every tweet discussed — it’s exhausting.

Everyone else seems to love it.

But let’s be clear: corporate April Fools gags are nothing more than thinly veiled opportunities for product placement and #brand engagement. Only slightly less evil than those 9/11 #neverforget advertisements manufactured to sell us more BBQ grills. Look closely at some of the more professional productions: it’s no coincidence that the overly earnest artisan in Motorola’s selfie parody draws attention to both the Moto X and its Moto Voice touchless controls. Likewise, Google’s Smartbox by Inbox is a reminder that the Inbox app is not, in fact, the joke it appears to be.

April Fools is the manifestation of #brands trying to wink at us like friends yet coming across like a pervy uncle. But it's fun, and it’s ok to have fun.

Are you not entertained?

Five stories to start your day

  1. Microsoft launches MS-DOS mobile to reboot its struggling smartphone efforts

    Microsoft is going back to the basics for a joke at the expense of Windows Phone today. What do you do when your smartphone operating system has less than three percent market share worldwide? Reboot. While the software giant isn’t quite dramatically rebooting all over again, it has genuinely launched an MS-DOS mobile app for Windows Phone as part of an April Fools’ Day prank.

  2. This is the CT6, Cadillac's huge bet on the future

    Here's Cadillac's next huge car, both literally and figuratively: the CT6, which stands for Cadillac Touring 6.

  3. US outlines how it will cut 28 percent of greenhouse gas emissions by 2025

    The United States began to outline today how it will achieve the goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent by the end of 2025. In a submission to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the United States says that it will use executive actions, largely under the Clean Air Act, to cut carbon pollution from new and existing power plants, improve fuel economy standards, and limit methane emissions from landfills and the oil and gas sectors.

  4. This Quentin Tarantino supercut shows his films from a new angle

    Kaneria combines an array of Tarantino's profile shots, using a quote from a DVXuser forum member to explain that by setting the camera side-on to a character's face, you give the audience the least amount of information about their state of mind.

  5. You won't see a Robin Williams hologram until at least 2039

    From Tupac's performance as a hologram at Coachella to Audrey Hepburn's CGI advert for Galaxy chocolate, it's become increasingly common for stars to make digital reappearances after they die. Some celebrities, however, are taking steps to prevent this posthumous exploitation, with recently-uncovered documents showing Robin Williams to be among their number.

Burn of the day

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