Each year, April Fool’s Day presents an opportunity for brands to have a little fun with “fake news” pranks about new products, new flavors, or even new company names. In 2022, leading 3D printing company and BIGfish client Formlabs wanted to get in on the fun – and media attention – of April Fool’s Day.
Making April 1 a successful media moment takes careful planning. Many brands have faltered with April Fool’s mishaps, which can be damaging to a brand and its relationship with the media. Careful preparation and planning to avoid pitfalls and identify a route for a successful fake announcement were critical.
The team brainstormed story approaches for April 1, and Formlabs decided on a fictitious two-dimensional printer, the Form 2D, which BIGfish used as a faux product announcement that would generate coverage and conversation with the media and with Formlabs’ followers on social media. BIGfish and Formlabs collaborated to identify key messages that would shock and entertain the media to entice them to write the story to get clicks and views from their own audiences. And, Formlabs prepared a blog and video to support the announcement to make it seem real, and give something engaging for the media to include in their stories.
BIGfish conducted embargoed outreach to seed stories about Formlabs’ fictitious 2D printer with top tier tech and 3D printing trade outlets. There were two elements that made this outreach successful. First, BIGfish kept our fingers on the pulse of the media conversation around April Fool’s Day and other big news topics, planning outreach to a conservative, targeted list of reporters who would get – and write about – the joke.
Secondly was the outreach strategy; rather than pitching the Form 2D as real news, BIGfish let the media in on the joke, nodding to the fake news in our pitches to ensure that they understood that this was April Fool’s Day news. With an early embargo date, we left it up to the media to decide whether they wanted to break the announcement or cover it on the first of the month.
When Formlabs announced its revolutionary 2D printer, the Form 2D, as an April Fool’s Day joke, CNET, Plastics Today, Futurism covered the news, and TechCrunch named it a “top 5 least cringe April Fool’s day joke.” In total, the Formlabs’ “news” was covered in five unique stories, reaching over 511.4M readers.