Next Monday is April 1st and that means we can expect a buttload of “wacky” online gags from tech companies keen to test out their comedic peristalsis.
But not everyone will be getting in on this tradition. Microsoft has issued a memo telling staff not to engage in April Fools jokes – or else.
In a leaked memo, marketing exec Chris Capossela said:
Considering the headwinds the tech industry is facing today, I’m asking all teams at Microsoft to not do any public-facing April Fools’ Day stunts. I appreciate that people may have devoted time and resources to these activities, but I believe we have more to lose than gain by attempting to be funny on this one day.
The Verge has the full text of the memo.
In an era when protection of corporate reputations is extremely important, it’s no surprise that organisations are clamping down on activities in order to ensure they protect their brand and avoid negative publicity.
As we noted last year, some of the gags are pretty funny but they also represent the waste of significant resources and can lead to some pissed off customers. When Google playfully altered Gmail in 2016, it suffered significant backlash after the poorly executed, and perhaps conceived, prank messed up people’s email, and may even have led to some people losing their jobs as it muted email threads, forcing them to apologise.
At the turn of the century, the world's leading companies discovered this newfangled thing called the internet. Ever since, there has been an endless procession of PR stunts masquerading as April Fools' gags come April 1. As annual traditions go, it's somewhere between ostentatious Christmas lights and Talk Like A Pirate Day on the annoyance scale. </p> <p>Most of their output is pretty groan worthy - but among the lame jokes and cynical hard sells are a few genuinely inspired creations. Some perfectly skate the line between ludicrous and plausible while others are just plain funny. Here are the best fake ads and products of 2018 so far.Read more
Microsoft’s move might seem a little heavy-handed and killjoy, but with the company delivering software that people rely on in a very competitive market, it doesn’t want to do anything that adds risk to its activities.
Just this week, the infamous Clippy made a brief return as a sticker pack for Microsoft Teams before being pulled by Microsoft, signalling that they are taking things more seriously than in previous times.
So, when you read the news on Monday morning, note that it is April fools and if something seems a little weird then be sceptical. Unless it’s from Microsoft.