The origins of April Fools remain a bit of a mystery, but it’s a tradition that has long been a part of the culture at Conscious Solutions. From David getting an orange dog tattoo, to rebranding to green (David has made it VERY clear that won’t be happening anytime soon) and launching a dating service for lawyers, we‘ve had some fun with April Fools in the past.
So earlier this year as the date approached, we asked a few of our funniest team members to help brainstorm ideas. Although it’s a fun event, there is an interesting balance to get right especially after the stress that has been collectively experienced with the pandemic, global conflicts and a heightened sense of sensitivity being experienced across the board.
We explored NFTs, creating our own cryptocurrency, unveiling the elusive Banksy and more, before we stumbled upon the hot air balloon idea (it figuratively floated onto our plate). We, fortunately, have a passionate hot air balloon enthusiast at Conscious, who posted pictures of his latest purchase on our company slack channel, a big beautiful and importantly orange hot air balloon. Well, that was the trigger we needed, and we ran with it, quickly devising a story that elaborated on why we had blown our marketing budget on a hot air balloon. The concept was on brand (for one it was orange), it was light-hearted and wouldn’t cause any great offence and we could have some fun with it.
Beyond that, it covered a current issue - fuel prices, the front and centre of the national news cycle. And with the Bristol clean air initiative, travelling in your car is going to become more and more expensive. So that settled it, all we had to do now was get some of the team on board. We needed a copywriter to get creative with the words (and a chance to write about David), we needed the web dev team to build a page with a form and we needed our designer to brand the balloon (on our screens).
David Gilroy jumped at the opportunity to tell his LinkedIn followers that he would be arriving at the Modern Law awards (which we are a sponsor of this year) in style and this naturally got some good-natured responses including requests for lifts, and someone suggested that there was a hot air joke hidden in there somewhere, all in all there were 40 reactions and 13 comments.
Two teaser social media posts which highlighted the rising cost of fuel and suggesting that removing carbon from the air could be crucial to tackling climate change and we linked those under the hashtags #DoOrangeandGreenGoTogether and #HowGreenIsConscious.
We then prepared an email to clients, prospects, and partners with a strong call to action which was to sign our waiver so that we could go and visit them. With a second call to action for those not quite ready for a visit suggesting they go and read about David’s maiden voyage.
We also prepared a press release that we hosted on our website which was a more complete story about the reason and the maiden voyage that David took.
All links sent the readers to a page we had developed on our website under the title ‘permission to land’. This told the story about David’s maiden voyage as well as some photos of the hot air balloon that our talented designer had edited to include the Conscious logo.
Readers were encouraged to complete the permission to land waiver which, if completed would take them through to a thank you page telling them that if they weren’t aware of it yet, we were just joking.
And finally, a reveal social media post that confessed we hadn’t purchased a hot air balloon…yet, but we aren’t taking it off the table. It also gave us a chance to share that we have started the journey towards a more sustainable place as a company that begins with us measuring our carbon footprint so we can put measures in place to make a real impact on improving the world we live in.
- 3,494 recipients with an 81.1% success rate
- Total opens: 1,445
- Total clicks: 390
- Open rate: 27% (slightly above our average open rate)
- Click through rate 5.7% (slightly above our average click-through rate)
- 7 unsubscribes, this is always a slight concern when doing a campaign that is a little bit offbeat. Not everyone is going to enjoy it and for some, it might actually put them off, but that needs to be considered against a bigger brand question. What do you want to be known for? And if part of that answer is you have fun, you don’t take yourselves too seriously and you want to include as many people as possible on that journey, then go for it.
- 9 ‘permission to land’ form completions.
- 86 page views.
- 01:56 average time spent on-page.
- 12 people fell for it hook line and sinker...you know who you are (including one of shareholders)
But the best results are the qualitative
The best piece of feedback was from a minor shareholder in the business, who questioned David over dinner: ‘so I believe you are wasting your marketing budget on a hot air balloon, I hope you going to at least give me a ride’.
Well hilarity ensued as he realised, he had skim read through the email on 1 April and as David says, a good joke will reveal itself without having to be explained even if that may take a little time.
Same time next year?
Absolutely, what about you?