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Is now the time for April Fools stories?

Updated: Apr 22

By Patrick Southwell:

Look, I like a good joke as much as the next man. In fact, I like bad ones too: I hired an electrical contractor. Plugged him in and he shrank. But there’s so much misery out there now that I can’t quite tell if April Fools stories are welcome relief or utterly tone deaf.

Let’s pause for a second and consider the situation. We still face terrorism (as I was reminded when I flew for the first time in two years last week), Brexit challenges, a global pandemic, war, a cost-of-living crisis, and Coldplay.

I could go on. There’s layer upon layer of awfulness out there. Is now the time to create a story about the Severn crossing being renamed the Gareth Bale Bridge? Or that Deliveroo has banned orders of pineapple on pizza?

A clown sitting by a window

As I woke up this morning, I started looking for April Fools stories, but all I saw was suffering. In this context, I think quite a few consumer brands have called off the traditional silliness. It made me wonder if those that went for it might have experienced a backlash.

Then I started to see other signs that seasonal hijinks might not be going down well today. Just subtle ones, but they were there none the less. Very British Problems’ Instagram feed posted about not having an April fool because “no one needs that panic in their lives right now.”

Then I saw a journalist tweet that “If you're a news or PR organisation trying to do April Fool's Day stuff I have a tip for you: do not.” I asked her why and the response was, “Because the last thing this world needs is more misinformation flowing around online, however well-intentioned it may be.”

So, we can now add “fake news” to the list of despair that 2022 has become.

What’s the answer? Is now the time for an April Fools story? I’m torn. I really am. As I said, I like a good old larf. Mainly at my own rubbish dad jokes. But it does seem a bit odd to try and sell a brand on the back of a silly story when the world is going to hell in a handcart.

On balance, I’d recommend this year’s not the one for an annual prank story. By all means, try and bring some joy into the world, have a joke, keep it light. But don’t try and flog your fizzy drink or chips to us at a time when some are choosing between heating and eating.

I hope next year will be different. Because the world does need a joke now and again.

By the way, did you know that 60 per cent of offal is off?

*Walks off laughing*


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