My favourite April Fool stunts of all time, from Jules Herd, MD at Five in a Boat

It’s been a tough year and the news agenda has reflected the seriousness of the times but one of the things I love most about the PR and media industries is when they come together for silly season!

As PR professionals we collectively spend a huge amount of time writing about serious topicspromoting and protecting the reputation of our clients, just as journalists work hard to ensure that they are reporting the news and delivering impactful and interesting stories to their readers.

There are certain times of the year however when this sort of content takes a back seat, and we start to see more light-hearted stories take over – ones that are specifically designed to raise a smile.

Christmas is one, summer holiday season is another and April Fool’s Day is a third. 

So, in celebration of April Fools Day, here’s my five favourite April Fools stories of all time. 

1. Richard Branson’s UFO – a fantastically creative gag which saw the Virgin boss himself flying a UFO shaped balloon across London, landing in a field, and paying someone to emerge from the craft dressed as ET when the police arrived.

UFO balloon pictured by London commuters and alien UFO pilot (Credit: Virgin)

2. Travelodge Bed Share – I mean, who doesn’t want to share a bed with a stranger for 50% cheaper than if you had a room of your own.

The fake ad:

3. The Swiss Spaghetti harvest – one of the greatest pranks of all time which saw Richard Dimbleby on Panorama finding a crop of Spaghetti in Switzerland and multiple viewers calling in to ask how they could grow their own spaghetti trees.

The news broadcast:

More about the history:

 4. Big Ben going digital – while this did not go down well with many World Service listeners, we thought it was brilliant.

5. National Geographic Naked Animals – in 2016 the media group announced it would no longer degrade animals by showing pictures of them naked and then created a gallery of a whole bunch of animals wearing clothes.

Article written by Jules Herd, managing director of PR agency Five in a Boat.