April Fools’ Day is now just a few days away, which means it’s time to brace ourselves for an onslaught of companies and brands trying to be funny with their damn “pranks.” Well, it looks like one company has decided to change its ways, as the Verge reports that Microsoft has made a vow to not enter the April Fools’ fray this year.
In an internal memo, Microsoft marketing chief Chris Capossela has politely requested that employees at the company kindly not bother the public with any April Fools’ Day nonsense next Monday, which would be a departure from Microsoft’s past gags of bringing back Clippy, launching a MS-DOS mobile app, or teasing a Microsoft Office for Cats. Capossella says that “data tells us these stunts have limited positive impact and can actually result in unwanted news cycles,” then later warns employees that “we have more to lose than gain by attempting to be funny on this one day.” Here’s the full memo:
It’s that time of year when tech companies try to show their creativity with April Fools’ Day stunts. Sometimes the outcomes are amusing and sometimes they’re not. Either way, data tells us these stunts have limited positive impact and can actually result in unwanted news cycles.
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.
Please forward to your teams and internal partners to ensure people are aware of the ask to stand down on external April Fools’ Day activities.
Assuming this memo isn’t part of some much bigger and more terrible stunt Microsoft is planning, perhaps more companies will follow their lead and take John Oliver’s April Fools’ Day No-Prank Pledge.