Last Updated Apr 2, 2010 12:03 PM EDT
April 1 is taken incredibly seriously by advertisers who -- if they participate -- must come up with something funny enough to be engaging but not misleading enough to actually annoy customers. So most give it a miss. Many pages of earned publicity are bestowed upon the bold and successful; lawsuits and a consumer backlash await those who get these things wrong (such as Toyota, whose soccer hooligan stalker prank, created by ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi, ended up in court in California). So here are the five best April Fool's Day jokes from 2010 as perpetrated by advertisers:
- BMW's political car badges The car company ran a newspaper ad asking British drivers to "show your true colors" in the runup to the general election there with new BMW hood ornament badges in red, blue and yellow -- the colors of the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties. "In the event of a hung Parliament, we'll replace your badge for free," the ad said. German humor is no laughing matter, of course, which is why BMW has an entire web page explaining all its April Fool's jokes from years gone by.
- Dr Pepper on Chatroulette Finding an in-costume cheerleader on Chatroulette is about as likely as finding life on the moon but Dr Pepper provided one yesterday, who urged chatters to "be a doggy," and other humiliating mimes, in order to "get a dance." The whole thing was filmed for YouTube.
- Groupon's "GroupÃ¶upon" luxury site. Coupon site Groupon launched "GroupÃ¶upon," which it described thus: "GroupÃ¶upon is the next level--an exclusive, invitation-only, premium marketplace designed to enhance your status. Featuring a select rotation of designer items that transcend function, GroupÃ¶upon is the retail portal you never knew you couldn't live without." Items on offer included a "sleek" faceless watch and "premium sleeves," sans jacket.
- Google changes its name to Topeka Certainly the biggest April Fool's of the day but not the funniest. Besides, Topeka is arguably a much nicer brand name than Google.
- National Republican Senatorial Committee's "Low Emission Unicorns" You can't let your anger get in the way of your humor, as the GOP does here, but there's still a couple of good one-liners in this video of Obama's achievements, including the one about solving global warming by replacing cars with "low emission unicorns." There was a better joke in here that the Republicans failed to spot, and it starts with the out-of-context clip of Hillary Clinton telling an audience, "the sky will open, the light will come down!" An "ad" created entirely out of Democrats' actual speeches would have been much funnier.