While everyone and their sister will be trying to fool you today, instead we thought it might be interesting to share with you some of the most unsuccessful and controversial April Fools tricks that have been played over the course of history:

Apple Announces its iPad Follow-Up

After the successful 2010 launch of the iPad, despite its similar name to the revolutionary iPod, Apple announced that 2011 would see the debut of the iPed: shoes that were capable of playing music wirelessly with high quality GPS that would “correct” the user’s feet if they started heading in the wrong direction. Unfortunately, over 112,000 units were pre-ordered before the prank was pulled.


KFC Switches States

With the “Fried” part of its brand name under fire, KFC considered going one step further by announcing it would be exploring moving all of its operations to West Virginia, and changing its name to WVFC. Cecil H. Underwood, then West Virginia’s Governor, reached out to CEO David C. Novak directly to facilitate the move, only to discover it was a prank.

Coke’s Name Change

Given then-recent backlash for its similarities to the word cocaine, Coke announced that it would be changing its brand name to Kök, going so far as to release a new logo.


Immature teenagers across the United States began to deride the new name, with many obscene jokes following.

Pfizer’s Faulty Promotion

On April 1, 2000, Pfizer announced that, for one day only, free medication would be available without prescription, at select high-end retailers, such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Barney’s. Despite the seeming obviousness of the prank, many showed up in person to take advantage of the offer, only to be turned away by confused sales associates. Complaints against Pfizer ensued; publicity chief Walter Morrow left the company in part due to the fiasco.

New York City Unveils New Tourism Slogan

On 4/1/95, the Giuliani administration released the following slogan designed to boost tourism:

NYC cab ad

While technically accurate, a media storm erupted in the morning hours before it was made clear that the new slogan was, in fact, in jest.

Vladimir Putin’s Bungled Announcement

While April Fools is predominantly a US observance, 2013 saw Vladimir Putin try his hand at comedy when, in a speech, he announced a “new dawn” and a “new Russia” that would “…welcome the homosexual [with open arms]” and that “personal liberties would be recognized for all individuals.” At the end of the speech, after Twitter had already started buzzing with the news, Putin ended with what would be most closely translated as “Fools for you all this April!”.


Sam Adams’ Youth-Friendly Rebrand

In 2006, iconic beer brand Samuel Adams used the holiday to announce that it would be rebranding itself to be more kid-friendly. Explaining that it was losing market share in the 16 and younger demographic segment, it unveiled a new logo, to go along with a new homepage.

Sam Adams

The move was widely derided, and due to an internal spokesperson mixup, was not announced as an April Fools joke until April 3rd.

Consulting Firm Distributes Email

At the outset of April 2014, NYC-based digital branding consultancy Firebrand Group sends an email to its closest friends describing historical April Fools pranks that turned into epic blunders. All of these pranks, however, never actually happened, making this whole thing a prank. Kind of meta, no?

Have an epic April, everyone!

-Jeremy & your friends at Firebrand Group