The Best April Fools' ads of 2016

Election insurance, artisanal toilet paper and free weed for agency staff. Happy April 1!

As is tradition, every year on April 1 marketers get a little silly. Looking for some fooling material? Here are some of the April Fools' ads and gimmicks that made our day. Or made us cringe. You might never look at some of these brands the same way again.


The dreaded time is almost upon us. In this April Fools' gag spot, courtesy of Leo Burnett, Esurance wants us to prepare for the worst this November with election insurance. You know, in case the wrong candidate wins the White House and you have to abandon your own home and move to Canada. The election insurance will protect your home while you are gulping down maple syrup with the moose.

Of course, every insurance plan comes with options. Esurance will protect your home with weekly maintenance, Christmas lights for the holidays and a teenager to cry over a breakup in the front yard. The way this election is playing out, this could actually come in handy. 

Blackjet Inc.

Toronto-based Blackjet Inc. is trying to become the dopest creative agency with this April Fool’s ad. To attain top-notch talent (not to mention Millennials), it is adding free pot to its employee benefits package. The agency conducted multiple focus groups made up of Millennials to come to the conclusion that the generation just needs some weed to do good work, says the agency in a press release.

Partner Mo Solomon says that this "pot perk" has been received very well by potential employees. "It will be tough to weed through all the candidates. Now we're even looking into some extensions like brownies and cookies," says Mo Solomon, Partner, Blackjet Inc. #DopeAgency

Quilted Northern

For April Fools', Georgia-Pacific brand Quilted Northern is going old-school and "rolling" back 100 years to create their artisanal "rustic weave" toilet paper line. Straight from the tree to the toilet, Quilted Northern understands that its consumers want a handcrafted, raw product. It’s also available in small batch, cedar loom, and extra virgin birch. These "roll" the brand into a whole new space — crafts.  

"We expect this product to fill a large white space in the toilet tissue category," said Jason Ippen, senior brand director at Georgia-Pacific in a press release. "We know consumers want to connect with their product and have an interest in craftsmanship. We want people to know that small-batch and big-batch are not mutually exclusive." The spot was created by Droga5, which has a history of employing dark humor to advertise the brand.


Just like some people are terrible at March Madness pools but can’t stop filling out brackets, others can’t help themselves trying out practical jokes that never seem to work every April 1.

Progressive has a plan for that: April Fools' Insurance.

Starting at 3 a.m. on April Fools' Day, consumers can go to — get it? Sort of like Progressive’s Name Your Price tool — and pick a news or event category in which to feature your friend (or mortal enemy). Just add a photo or connect to Facebook, and voila, the perfect gag assist for the April Fools' Day inept.

And thanks to Progressive for making yours truly the voice of car navigation systems everywhere.

Tough Mudder

Military-style obstacle course event series Tough Mudder, known for literally shocking its fanbase on a regular basis, attempted to faze consumers by launching a line of toys on Friday. The products consist of a series of obstacles that allow fans to train for their next Tough Mudder event at home or on-the-go.

One of the obstacles that consumers can purchase is Tough Mudder’s Electroshock Therapy product, which packs over 20,000 volts of electricity. Other Tough Mudder Toys include a portable "arctic enema" kit, and a lifetime warranty on barbed wire.

Because each product is compact, lightweight and portable, Tough Mudder noted that they easily allow consumers to train for each obstacle at work, home, kids’ birthday parties, and company picnics.


In a bold move, the car maker has released images of the world’s first official emoji number plate on its "race car for the road", the Honda Civic Type R. According to Honda, research has found 96 per cent of under-30s in the UK prefer emoji plates over their traditional counterparts.

The views of those aged over 30 have not been disclosed, but a source close to the initiative suggested that they were less favourable, writing via email: ":-("


The German car maker has created new shoes for toddlers that ensure optimal walking despite any household terrain, such as ceramic tiles and varnished wood. It claims the boots use BMW xDrive technology, so they must be good, then.


Virgin Trains is offering customers the chance to catch a steam train to work by bringing back the original Flying Scotsman later this year on its East Coast and West Coast routes. The company is even offering a 25 per cent discount to customers willing to shovel coal on their journey.

Royal Caribbean's out of this world cruises

Royal Caribbean is offering customers cruises in outer space from the year 2030 in an "Orbiter of the Galaxies" spaceship that will boast zero-gravity stage shows.

Mattel turns Juneau, Alaska into UNO, Alaska

Alaska's capital city changed its name to something more befitting its wild nature, partnering with Mattel to get the word out about the new blank Wild cards in the classic card game UNO. Residents can pick up a free deck at UNO city hall today until 4:00 p.m. local time.

"When we discussed how we could most effectively showcase UNO going wild, there was one place in the United States that came to mind – Alaska," said Ray Adler, director of games at Mattel. "The people of UNO are incredible and we’re proud to be associated with the community."

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