April Fool's Jokes

31st March, 2008

Each year a number of reputable brands produce an April Fool's Day advert which appears in the media on April 1st only.

Most famously BMW's ad agency annually creates April Fool's Day adverts that are designed to look credible on first glance. The ads usually highlight a new piece revolutionary technology that is not quite plausible.

To help fool the reader the ads usually take the same style as BMW's normal advertising The adverts over the years have included:

  • The 'Klimatabeiter Climate Control System (KCCS)', which - supposedly - can recreate any of the world's 23 registered climates inside your car and comes as standard in BMW 7 Series models.
  • The 'Toot and Calm Horn (T.C.H.)' system, which creates a noise that manages to calm the other driver and so reduces the risk of road rage.
  • The 'Marque Wiper' - a windscreen wiper on the BMW badge!

In 2007 BMW came up with 'Reactive User Sound Electronic (RUSE)' which claimed to be a "hands free technology, enabling drivers to communicate warnings and salutations without even lifting a finger"

However this ad prompted complaints that it promoted anti-social driving.
Complainants to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) claimed that although the advert was intended to be an April Fool's Day joke, its image and sentiment, including the reference "lifting a finger", condoned aggressive driving and encouraged anti-social behaviour. Of course the ASA threw out the complaint as BMW had been running this annual prank for around 20 years.

So when you open your newspaper tomorrow make sure that you read the adverts carefully and don't let the advertising agencies fool you. But if you do fall foul....take it in good humour and don't waste the ASA's time.

Jason Edge

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