Whether you're running a Fortune 500 company or starting your own family-run business, there's one day of the year that lends itself well to childish antics: April Fools' Day.
Some people love the holiday and others loathe it, but regardless of how you feel about it, many companies feel an obligation to recognize it in some capacity. Not all pranks have to be deceptive - in fact, several businesses this year made headlines due to the sheer unexpected nature of their antics.
As your company looks for more creative ways to connect to its customers - and ideas for next year's holiday - look to the best April Fools' Day pranks of 2015 for inspiration.
1. Pacman leads Google Maps
Remember Pac-Man? Well your old pals at Google surely do, and they paid homage to the vintage game by integrating it in Google Maps for people to play on April Fools' Day. While the website traditionally allows people to view cities through satellite and virtual maps, it added a third option - a Pac-Man view - where visitors can actually play Pac-Man on the streets of their city of choice.
This was a great move for the company, as millions of online visitors flocked to the site to play the interactive game. Take a hint from Google and search for spots on your site where you can get consumers to get involved with your tools or tabs.
2. Twitter releases the Twelfie Stick
You've heard of the selfie stick - a long tool that allows people to take selfies from a further distance - but have you heard of the Twelfie stick? The fictional product released by Twitter would allow people to take pictures that get posted directly to the social network. To indicate the image has gone live, the stick would make a loud chirp.
While Twitter didn't release an entirely new product, it did release fake specs for the item. If your brand is looking for an opportunity to have a little fun, consider drawing up your own specs for a fake product complete with humorous descriptions and pictures. Your loyal customers will be itching to share your images on social networks.
3. Hodor guides your GPS
Are you a "Game of Thrones" fan? You're not alone. ThinkGeek revealed a line of fictional products for April Fools' Day, including a Tauntaun Sleeping Bag and a Voltron Cat Condo. Our favorite was the Hodor GPS Travel Buddy, a device that only gives directions by repeating "Hodor," much like the character from the fan-favorite series.
Finding opportunities to integrate pop culture in your operations is a great idea for small-business owners who want to reach a wide range of potential buyers, as these kinds of products can hook avid fans. You may not release your own product relating to a character or show, but you can find ways to relate your posts to series or events trending at the moment.
4. Introducing PlayStation Flow
Avid gamers recognize that virtual environments require them to interact in different terrain - whether they're running through mountains, driving through city streets or swimming in deep waters. The new wearable technology announced by PlayStation - PlayStation Flow - requires that gamers wear arm pads, leg pads and waterproof goggles, then jump in the nearest pool to guide characters in underwater environments.
The tool itself is pretty impressive, but what's more so was the video released by the company. It received more than 1.3 million views in just three days and gained serious traction on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. The prank highlights the importance of integrating a video strategy on your website, especially when releasing a new product or service.