Elaborate folly: BMW's April Fools tradition

  • April Fools
  • April 2, 2014
  • Damien Venuto
Elaborate folly: BMW's April Fools tradition

Since the 1980s, BMW has been using the April Fools tradition as a canvas to showcase a series of imaginative, and somewhat insane, faux products in the hope of catching out gullible or unsuspecting consumers.

Magnetic tow technology,the BMW pickup truck, in-car cooking capablities, the moveable steering wheel and insect-reflector windscreen technology are just some of the product innovations that the prestigious car company has unveiled over a three-decade period. (Click here to see some of BMW's other crazy hoaxes). 

Last year, BMW UK latched onto the royal birth hysteria and introduced the Postnatal Royal Automobile, which came complete with a paparazzi-proof hood and a nanny-assisting, petrol-powered injection engine (NAPPIE).

       

This year, DDB NZ decided to stick with parenting theme by launching the BMW ZZZ Series cot, an egg-capsule contraption that simulates the noises and G-force of a road journey to encourage the little one lying inside to fall asleep.

Basing the idea on the premise that a car drive often causes restless kids to doze off, the team at DDB conceptualised a product that gave parents this benefit without the need of piling everyone into the car.            

“The product was developed in response to the plight of millions of parents around the world who spend hours driving around the block in an effort to get their upset infants to sleep. We look forward to making their lives easier with this latest addition to our family,” said BMW New Zealand managing director Nina Englert in a tongue-in-cheek statement about the release of the new product.

To promote the faux product, DDB created a promotional video and posted it to a microsite that extrapolates further on the specifications of the product. In case you were wondering, the BMW ZZZ is smartphone controlled and it does come standard with interior leather trimmings. 

Interestingly, this is one of the first major campaigns (albeit fake) that DDB has executed for the car company since winning the account last year. And the elaborate prank seems to have paid off.

In addition to featuring on a few April Fools lists on Kiwi websites, the gag also exploded overseas and even featured in a CNN breakdown of the best jokes of the year. 

“We know BMW for its trademark style and innovation, but they’re also known for their great April Fools’ Day pranks so we thought this the perfect opportunity to explore what else the ultimate driving machine could mean” says DDB executive creative director Shane Bradnick.

Given that many parents really do suffer sleepless nights on account of children who refuse to sleep, there are probably quite a few people out there hoping that this gag becomes a real, purchasable product one day. And as far-fetched as this might sound, it wouldn't be the first (or even the strangest) April Fools prank to become a real thing.   

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