Media April fool stories may be a little thinner on the ground in an era where “fake news” has become a concern, and at a time when a global pandemic makes judging the tone trickier.
The Telegraph chose 1 April to announce that Barnard Castle was intending to add a life-sized statue of Dominic Cummings to the estate, while the Sun returned to the row over Harry & Meghan’s Oprah Winfrey interview by suggesting that Justin Welby officiated over their “secret” pre-wedding while acting as an Elvis impersonator. The Guardian’s own joke, in light of the recent Ever Given grounding, was that there were plans to build a second Suez Canal to avoid a similar situation happening again.
Away from the news industry, as you’d expect, brands have also returned to pretending to launch April fool products with gusto after many took a pause last year.
The Teletubbies have caused some consternation with an apparent move into cryptocurrency with “HugCoins”. While the lovable character’s Tubbytronic Superdome house sits in an idyllic green landscape, cryptocurrencies have been widely criticised for their negative climate impact, making it a slightly odd brand-match. However, the environmental impact of “HugCoins” is meant to be more benign, with the company behind the Teletubbies promising to donate a dollar to charity every time a hug is shared on social media with the hashtag #TubbyCoin.
Children’s TV aficionados were concerned by the unexpected announcement from CBeebies that much-loved presenter and actor Rebecca Keatley was leaving the the channel for pre-schoolers to join the cast of the rather rougher and tougher Peaky Blinders. Also from the BBC, 6 Music has horrified maudlin regular listeners by insisting on playing out-and-out pop music all day.
If you fancy something higher-brow, then the Antigone Journal appears to be a brand new journal for the classics launched last week with the sole purpose of promoting a newly discovered fragment of verse by Ovid over an elaborate series of scholarly articles.
The lead singer of the Charlatans, Tim Burgess, has gained lockdown fame over the last 12 months for his Twitter album listening parties, and he pranked fans with the offer of “Sproston Blue” T-shirts, a joke based on the band’s fan favourite song Sproston Green, which frequently closes their live sets. However, it turned out that the joke T-shirts were in fact a genuine limited edition.
As well as sitting at home listening to records, another big pandemic trend has been getting food delivered. Another April fool gag that has also become a real product is the McDonald’s sharing portion of chips. If you order from their app today you can add an extra portion of free french fries to just hand to whoever is inevitably going to pinch some of yours.
Pizza Hut meanwhile has announced a new fleet of scooters equipped with their own mini ice cream factories. “The Absolutely legen-dairy bespoke bikes”, as they’ve been billed, claim to offer all the flavours you used to be able to access in Pizza Hut’s in-store ice cream machines.
Is the milk used in the ice cream organic? Maybe you can find out with the use of Yeo Valley Organic’s “Moo-R” codes. They say they’ve shaved the codes into their 400 Fresian cows. Scanning one takes you to a website purporting to be social network for their herd. Buttercup, for example, claims to be into eating plants, drinking water, and listening to jazz moo-sic.
If ice cream isn’t your fancy, you can always snack on potato waffles. Birds Eye and Morphy Richards have released details of a product today they claim is uniquely shaped to toast potatoes waffles, and nothing else, perfectly.
If you need something to wash your food down with then there are plenty of options, and apparently from today you can get wine delivered Santa Claus-style down your chimney by drone. Garçon Wines, who make sustainable, flat wine bottles that can be pushed through the letterbox were concerned for people who have fireplaces but not letterboxes.
Just be careful you don’t drink the organic gin eau du parfum that one gin brand says it is launching today.
In the games world, Pokémon Go – which still has millions of daily users – has frustrated trainers today with the rare chameleon-like Pokémon Kecleon appearing disguised in the wild, but because it is so well disguised you can never actually catch it. Frustrating for a franchise whose motto has been “Gotta catch ‘em all” for twenty-five years now.
And finally, Lego has promised an end to one of the most painful experiences of being a parent – stepping on a brick.