Prank your in-laws (and your marketing competition) this spring

 
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Before we begin, I want you to know this is a love story—not one of revenge or spite. 

I adore my mother-in-law. She’s caring and carefree. She also watches a lot of Netflix and doesn’t mind sharing her opinion about what shows to watch or avoid. It’s like having a human comments section as a relative. 

So, as any loving son-in-law would do, I created an elaborate prank in order to take advantage of her Netflix-and-chill way of life. 

What’s this have to do with marketing? Well, I wouldn’t have been able to pull it off without following essential integrated communications guidelines.

Audience Research

A great marketing campaign in 2018 begins and ends with data analytics. And fortunately, in this instance, building a buyer persona was very easy. 

My mother-in-law uses her home laptop, frequently checks her cell phone and, judging by the plethora of cards on her refrigerator, is an avid snail mail reader. She’s also very smart and cross-references important materials, so I had to make sure the prank was multi-faceted and stretched across several pieces of media.

I also needed to do my homework in regards to Netflix. I researched the company’s history, pulled subscriber data, and jotted down U.S. patent numbers. I may have also signed into my mother-in-law's Netflix profile to check out her viewing history, show preferences, etc. But, let's be honest, we all creep on the profiles of our shared accounts in the name of good fun, right?

Content & Design

A print mailer was developed as the first point of contact. I went to great lengths in order to make the envelope and letter appear as believable as possible (click to enlarge).

 
 
  • Netflix stickers were purchased at redbubble.com
  • Mailing label was printed by a local store and contains Netflix’s official address, as well as next-day delivery to complement the date on the letter
    • Side note: my father-in-law was more than happy to act as my accomplice and place the mailer on their kitchen counter the following day
  • Letterhead was designed with Netflix’s brand colors and logo
  • The domain NetflixChampion.com was purchased (but is no longer live)
  • Ted Sarandos is, indeed, the company’s Chief Content Officer
  • Telephone and U.S. patent numbers in the footer are legit

Next came the website. Thanks to Squarespace, I was able to develop a landing page in a matter of minutes with only a logo, background image and text.

 
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Functionality

Per the letter’s offer, I needed a place for my mother-in-law to submit her personalized code and claim her “prize.” Once clicked, the button took my lone web visitor to a pop-up screen where she could do just that.

 
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Tracking Results

Without further ado, I give you the confirmation page my mother-in-law saw after completing all necessary steps …

 
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I’m a digital marketer so, of course, I had an automated email sent to me upon campaign completion. That triggered a countdown toward the expected angry text …

 
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Analyzing Outcomes

As you can see, today's integrated marketing tools can offer lots of fun ways to secure friendly chuckles this April Fool's Day. 

But, perhaps more importantly, good-natured pranks like this one show us that stratifying your promotions across platforms, and coupling them with dynamic messages and strong branding components, is a great way to reinforce your company's personality in the digital world. 

From one professional prankster to another—do your research. Prepare accordingly. Then launch your genius into reality and track measurable results to give your brand a serious (but playful) boost this spring.

— Todd Krise


Do you want to prank your marketing competition? Fill out the form below and we will begin our devious planning.

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