Feeling Lucky? “Topeka It!”
Happy April Fools Day from LCB!
Apparently, April Fools Day is a day on which supposedly hip and trendy tech companies showcase their true colors. Google – er, “Topeka” – did just that.
At the very least, it’s smart PR. Google, as usual, has people talking. Simple, childish, and good-natured “pranks” like this endear Google to its massive and dedicated fan base. For the 25 minutes it likely took to dream up and engineer this April Fools Day prank, the tech giant will enjoy thousands (if not millions) of free links, references, and media posts pushing around the Google name.
Despite the company’s deep, robust pockets, Google hasn’t been known for using traditional advertising. It took years to find a Google television commercial, and in 2010, the company finally shelled out for some TV time during the Super Bowl. While this approach is far from traditional, Google has proven that its strategy is working. Perhaps they wanted to steer clear of the disastrous results Microsoft had with several of its television campaigns (Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld, anyone?). Regardless of their motives, no one can deny the success Google has had with their unique advertising approach.
One need not be the chief marketing officer at a multi-billion dollar tech firm to enjoy these truly cost-effective benefits. Any business can leverage the extremely diverse web population to catapult their brand into the headlines (or at least generate valuable viral buzz) by integrating their brand name with “Hallmark Holidays” like April Fools Day. By integrating numerous social media platforms, and linking to each other on these “special occasions”, a brand can vastly extend its reach, while staying fresh, relevant, and human in the minds of the consumers.
The Google April Fools Day prank, goofy backstory and all, is extremely valuable as a viral promotion tool, and the strategy can, and should, be employed by any company looking to expand and enhance its web presence. As for the actual comedic value? Stick to your day jobs, Google engineers.