Bengaluru, April 1  Every year on April Fool’s Day, Indian start-ups set out to play the most outlandish pranks on their consumers and also in return get their brands noticed. This year was no different. From ixigo’s ShoeX that comes with a built-it selfie camera, to the 10 minute funding proposition of, to Razorpay’s Buy Now Pay Never, and Zomato’s Prank a friend — these new-age companies have managed to make their consumers chuckle.

“Along with unwinding from the seriousness of everyday work, a well executed April fool day campaign also help in building brand recall and drive positive engagement,” Apuarv Sethi, Vice President - Marketing of fintech unicorn Razorpay told BusinessLine. A product like BNPN (Buy Now Pay Never) gave Razorpay an opportunity to actively engage with end-consumers and the project management tool, Ajwain (inspired by Jira) continued to keep it connected with engineers, Sethi added.

More than chuckles

As Udita Pal, co-founder of Y Combinator-backed fintech start-up SALT, puts it, “good humour always does more than give just a few chuckles.”

SALT’s take on April fool’s prank was a campaign called ‘Namak ishq ka,’ where the company’s target audience of young users can calculate the EX-tortion that they should get for the emotional, physical or financial damage that their ex-partner would have done. “Campaigns like these help the brand connect with its audience and are simply a great reminder that it’s a bunch of humans working hard to build and grow the company behind all the numbers and figures,” she added. 

For veterans like ixigo, April Fool’s day campaign has become an annual tradition, where the online travel company’s in-house video and marketing team brainstorm to come up with unique and witty ideas that entertain and engage its audience. “We simply do it because we enjoy the process,” said Aashish Chopra, VP - Content Marketing, ixigo.

Chopra believes that everything ixigo has ever launched as part of April Fool’s campaign is a believable idea that can someday be real! This year it was the launch of ShoesX - a smart shoe with USB charging facility for devices, 2MP selfie front camera, QR code scanner (Shoe-R code) for easy transaction GPS vibration sensor, direction alert, and much more.

‘Extraa pockets’

Beyond the tech innovations, online tailoring company Binks had a clever take on the lack of pockets in women’s clothing. Their campaign called ‘extraaa pockets’, made the case for stitching extra pockets on top of male clothing. “Because when women don’t have pockets. Men do carry the load for us,” the campaign video said.

This year, a tech company also allowed users to play a prank on their friends. Food delivery major, Zomato added a ‘Prank a friend’ option on its homepage. This feature gave users a fake link and message saying - “Hey! I’ve just placed an order for you on Zomato. You can track the order status here” - which they can share with friends to seem like they have placed an order, only to finally land on a custom page saying - “You’ve been pranked!”.