April Fool’s Day is upon us and the most popular pranks amongst brands are brimming with paw-tential. From restaurants to apparel, here’s a round-up of our favorite pet ploys that we can’t help but wish were the real deal:
1. Bloomingdale’s: Department stores are in decline. Cat cafes, on the other paw, are currently trending across America. Bloomingdale’s has often demonstrated a prowess for playful promotions. The shop consistently touts trendy events on its site, such as influencer-led yoga classes and freebie-packed frosé socials, according to Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Department Stores. So when Bloomie’s shoppers were sent an email inviting them to visit Forty Kitties (a spin-off of Forty Carrots, the store’s famous top-floor fro-yo spot) the event must have made sense. And with cat-centric fro-yo flavors like Calico Coffee and Tabby Toffee, plus forty felines to play with and meow-mosas to sip, it’s not hard to see why this actually could have been a purr-fect opportunity to coax customers into the store.
2. Petco: Pet spending has reached an all-time high in America, with millennials mocking marriage and prioritizing pets over parenthood. Petco took note this April Fool’s and decided to indulge its audience with the paw-portunity to not only spoil their fur-iends, but also experience a wedding—minus the commitment. The pet supplier sent subscribers a video email promoting “Furever Weddings”, its new pet wedding planning service, which promises pet-i-cures, edible decor, custom cat-ligraphy for cards, and pet-i-quette training before the big day. Petco has a penchant for putting out attention-grabbing videos that garner millions of views on both YouTube and TV according to Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Big Box, so the promotion might have appeared more believable than it actually was.
3. Edible Arrangements: Not one to miss out on the feeding frenzy, the fruit bouquet supplier rolled out an April Fool’s Day product of its own: pet-ible arrangements (“for the ones you truly love”), or treat trees to delight dog owners. If it weren’t for the disclaimer stating that cat arrangements would not be sold as “several focus groups involving felines found that they were simply uninterested in anything other than their own agenda.”, the promotion actually appeared quite promising.
4. REI: Keeping in mind the prominent place pets have secured in the hearts of its shoppers, REI tapped into the pet trend as well, introducing Pet Ventures—active adventures designed with pets in mind. Because REI has made active efforts to project itself as not just an apparel brand, but a lifestyle brand, the initiative makes sense. For example, in addition to scoring the highest average email open rate out of all brands tracked in Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Big Box, the outdoor authority boasts the fourth-largest community and the most interactions per post on Instagram.
5. Victoria’s Secret: Last, but not least, lingerie label Victoria’s Secret decided to get in on the fun by emailing shoppers about its new puppy personal shopping service. Despite boasting one of the largest email list sizes in Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail, the brand faces stiff competition with online fast fashion retailers like Cupshe and Zaful taking up space in the consumer search trend activity. In this regard, a personalized pet service seems very possible as an actual way of wooing customers in a way that online retailers cannot.