Sunday, April 3, 2011

Best of: April Fools Day 2011

While April Fool’s Day hoaxes are nothing new to the world of marketing, with everyone from Google announcing job opportunities for a new research center on the moon, to the British supermarket chain Tesco premiering a new genetically modified whistling carrot, HootSuite stole the show this April 1st  with their 2-pronged email campaign intended for confidential & internal eyes only. 

As a daily user of HootSuite, a Twitter platform that allows for team scheduling, collaboration and moderation across the social media site, I frequently get email campaigns from Ryan Holmes, HootSuite’s CEO.  As much as I praise the platform for all the time and hassle it saves me in scheduling and monitoring Tweets, I simply just didn’t have the time to read his latest announcement email this past Friday morning, nor did I have the time to read or digest the subject line, “HootSuite Pivot - CONFIDENTIAL & INTERNAL” (although now I wish I had!). 

Later, on Friday afternoon just after 4:00 pm EST, I received another simple, two-sentence, text-formatted email from Mr. Holmes saying “The prior email entitled HootSuite Pivot was sent to you in error. It was intended to be sent only to our Board, Investors and Advisors and is highly confidential. Please delete and ignore”. 

Falling prey to believing this message, what was the next thing I did? I went straight back into my deleted box and searched for Mr. Holmes’s email from the morning to see what the big secret was. After locating the email and reading their announcement about moving away from their core business platform to launch Happy Owls, I finally realized how gullible I was, but was still highly impressed with the innovative and impressive marketing behind the prank.  

As an email marketer myself, I should have realized the chance of this type of large-scale error occurring was nearly impossible, but in my defense, it was late on a Friday afternoon after a very long week, I forgot what day of the year it was, and I also frequently do receive correction emails clarifying everything from time, date, and/or price mistakes to mass emails sent accidentally.

I haven’t seen any reports on HootSuite's open or click-through rates on this particularly impressive email campaign, but my gut tells me it was well above average on the first launch and received an even more unprecedented spike after the second one was released. 

Hats off to HootSuite on this impressive campaign!

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