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April Fools: Terrible Til They’re Sonic

April Fools is almost entirely terrible. That is until the geniuses in Sonic’s marketing department get involved.


Every year it’s the same old thing. Brand A delivers a terrible take on one of their products. We all laugh and clap like the audience at the filming of an episode of Big Bang Theory and then we forget it ever existed. Ir’s “Frankie and Bennies by drone” and “It’s Babybel but square”. It’s not a joke – there’s no real twist on expectation. Not unless you have really strong belief in the shape of your processed cheese. It’s just a lie. A really mild lie.

There’s no evidence they can poke fun at themselves. There’s no acknowledgment of any real-world issue. If Frankie and Benny’s had some delivery problem, the joke about drones would land. Nobody in the history of the world has complained about the shape of Babybel cheese.

Enter the marketing team that looks after Sonic. Their April Fools joke would land even if they hadn’t released a whole game to go along with it. But they did.

So before going too much into it all, here’s the trailer. Give it a watch.

It’s a free download on Steam, and it’s getting fantastic reviews. As far as April Fools jokes go, this is one for the ages.

But why does it work so well? They poke fun at themselves, and the concepts of the characters.”We’ve heard your feedback. Yes, all of it. Sonic is dead.”

It gets a well-earned chuckle from anyone familiar with the tried and true reaction to any new Sonic game. But it also shows the brand doesn’t take itself too seriously. It shows it has heard its fans. Probably a little too much.

April Fools – Taking the Joke Far Enough

There’s commitment to the bit too. They haven’t just photoshopped the Frankie and Benny’s logo onto a generic photo of a drone. If your April Fools joke feels obligatory, it shouldn’t land.

This, on the other hand, is a whole game. It’s only a couple of hours long, but people have had to draw and design the characters, write the dialogue. And the reaction has been incredible.

It’s currently sitting with an “overwhelmingly positive” rating on Steam. People are talking about it wherever people talk about games. And that can only be a good thing.

But at the end of the day, this is just the latest impressive work for the Sonic marketing team. Go check them out, toss them a like wherever you toss your likes, and laugh along when you can.

The problem with April Fools is that it’s not easy to be funny when you’re wearing corporate handcuffs. Marketing departments feel the need to get involved – and now unforutnately so do meme makers and Facebook groups. So the day becomes flooded with fake announcements – like one I saw earlier of Ryan Reynolds dying. Hilarious, right?

But occasionally something good does come out of it. And it’s not surprising that it’s Sonic the Hedgehog that got it done.


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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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Twitter: @matgrowcott