Preparing for April Fools…in December

9 December 2019 | 10 Comments

It’s December 9–isn’t it way too early to start thinking about April Fools Day?

I would propose that it’s actually a great time for entrepreneurs to think about April 1, which has become a fun day for marketing across a variety of industries. The reason is that if you want to create a tangible product for April Fools, you’ll need plenty of lead lead to make it (perhaps even more than 4 months).

I was reminded of this recently when Fantasy Flight announced that they were bringing to life their 2019 April Fools joke, Barkham Horror: The Card Game. Granted, FFG didn’t anticipate the fan response–like many things, it was just a joke, and they didn’t intend to make it. I applaud them for listening to their fans.

But other companies don’t wait to see if people want the joke product and instead capitalize on the viral nature of April Fools Day by making the product in advance. An example of this is the Honnold Signature Spatula by Black Diamond. They partnered with famous rock climber (Free Solo’s Alex Honnold) to bring this gag gift to life, and they sold it on and after April 1. It’s a real, functional spatula, and the proceeds go to a real nonprofit foundation.

As you can imagine, making a spatula takes time (product design, mould creation, production, freight shipping, etc). Black Diamond didn’t whip together the idea in late March.

Honestly, I often forget about April Fools until it’s much too late (and then I generally avoid it, as sometimes jokes can cause more confusion than they’re worth). But if I planned ahead and actually brought a joke to life, I would avoid all that trouble.

So I’m putting an annual reminder on my calendar to think about April Fools around this time of the year (which may not even be enough time). I’m not sure if I’ll actually make a joke product, but if I do, I would consider a special promo or maybe something particularly outlandish. I’m open to ideas.

Have you seen other examples of companies that plan ahead and create actual products for April Fools Day? Have you ever bought one?

Also read: How to Have Fun with Your Backers

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10 Comments on “Preparing for April Fools…in December

  1. I particularly like the idea of crossovers between games. One of my FAVORITE things is the super secret Euphoria/Viticulture crossover deck. I also enjoy seeing allusions to Viticulture in Charterstone and Wingspan among others.

    I think you could cross the “My Little” idea with just about any game and get a joke product that would be great. My first thought was a My Little Tapestry Civilization. It’s a civilization mat that’s intentionally easy-to-use and overpowered so that newcomers playing among veterans or children/young adults would have a handicap. You could do the same with a Mama and Papa for Viticulture or Recruit Cards for Euphoria. These would be small, relatively cheap to ship, and something extra fun/special for big Stonemaier fans with most/all of the games.

  2. Or you could release an April Fools joke about a product you are unsure about eg extinct birds or a Tapestry version without clay buildings.
    And then wait for the resonance. If it’s big enough you can still make it later.

  3. I’m waiting for the Jamey Stegmaier bobblehead decision making device. It is combined with the Jamey Stegmaier board game prototype review device. The bobble head is used when confronted with a decision you really want to do but maybe shouldn’t. You ask the bobble head if you should do this really really cool thing. If the head goes up and down, you do it. If it slowly turns side to side then you best not.

    The Board Game Prototype device is a black round ball with Jamey’s face on one side and a clear window on the other. When prototyping your game, you shake the ball, ask Jamey a question about the current game mechanic, and then turn it over to see the answer.

    “Oulook remains doubtful” or “Absolutely” or “Ask Again” are some of the more popular results.

    I’m first in line for these rare and collectible items!

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