by Betsy Noll

Samuel Adams scored big in 2014 with its cunning April Fool’s “HeliYUM” beer campaign. The concept is simple; here’s a beer that is ‘heliyum carbonated,’ thus when the beer is ingested, your voice reacts to the helium as if it were being sucked from an old balloon. There was a genuine feel to the video despite its whimsical approach, and industry leaders deem it a success.

Like any good PR team, the folks at Sam Adams took advantage of a holiday and made the best of it. NBC News compared this campaign to the likes of Domino’s “Edibox” and KFC’s “Mighty Mouth Expander.” What all of these have in common is that they are all April Fool’s campaigns designed to pull at the laugh-strings of a large audience. They are also some of the most successful April Fool’s ad campaigns of the past year.

While Sam Adams wanted serious online success with this campaign, they weren’t looking for a serious audience. This hoax-like approach gained the attention of thousands with a resoundingly positive outcome. The original video has over 600,000 views on YouTube today, just 10 months after it’s debut.

Huffington Post Writer, Isaac Saul, wrote, “In an April Fool’s power move, Samuel Adams has released a ‘HeliYUM’ beer,” the day that the video was released. Another HuffPost article surfaced later titled, “The Best April Fools’ Day Pranks of 2014 From Around The Internet & Beyond,” and Sam Adams made the list. Anytime the Huffington Post sings your praises twice in one day, you know you did something right.

Nobody sang Sam Adam’s praises louder than writer Angela Park from Metro US News. She boasted, “Sam Adams released a video to tease it for April Fools Day, and the stunt is one of the best ones yet.” There’s no doubt of the support here. In fact, Park closes with, “But why keep it a joke? Maybe the popularity of the video will prompt the geniuses at Sam Adams to make HeliYUM for real — it would certainly be an easy way to break the ice at a party. Make it happen, Sam Adams!” Though most likely kidding, Sam Adams wouldn’t be the first to take an April Fool’s Day hoax and make it into something real.

A pair of Huffington Post writers reported that American Eagle’s once faux animal clothing line, is taking on a more serious note after their campaign.

“A week ago, American Eagle Outfitters released a clothing line for dogs called American Beagle. Today, they revealed it was meant to be a prank, but the response to the announcement was so great, they are now going o produce a doggy clothing line that will be ready by Christmas.”

In an article from AdWeek, Rebecca Cullers weighs in on all of the April Fools’ Day successes in the advertising world. Samuel Adams, once again, gains the positive attention and affection of industry news outlets. Cullers ran an all-day, continuously updating list of as pranks on April 1st, with Sam Adams checking in at the top.

The mood that this advertisement tries to evoke resonated with beer lovers and non-beer lovers alike. Knowing their audience, and the difference between clean humor and an online mess, the Sam Adams as team was able to sleep easy after their April Fool’s #socialwin.

References:

  • Cullers, R. (2014, April 1). Adweek – Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology. April Fools’ Day 2014: The Best of the Brand Hoaxes | Adweek. Retrieved February 5, 2015, from http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/april-fools-day-2014-best-brand-hoaxes-156671
  • Dewey, C. (2014, April 1). Washington Post: Breaking News, World, US, DC News & Analysis. What was fake on the Internet this week: Banksy, bison and #SelfieBot – The Washington Post. Retrieved February 5, 2015, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/wp/2014/04/04/what-was-fake-on-the-internet-this-week-banksy-bison-and-selfiebot/
  • Hartsell, C., & McGlynn, K. (2014, April 1). Huffington Post Canada – Canadian News Stories, Breaking News, Opinion. The Best April Fools’ Day Pranks Of 2014 From Around The Internet & Beyond (UPDATES). Retrieved February 6, 2015, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/01/april-fools-day-2014_n_5068670.html#30_the-jokes-on-them
  • Johnson, A. (2014, April 1). NBC News – Breaking News & Top Stories – Latest World, US & Local News. Gotcha! Did You Swallow These April Fools’ Hoaxes? – NBC News. Retrieved February 6, 2015, from http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/gotcha-did-you-swallow-these-april-fools-hoaxes-n69176
  • Saul, I. (2014, April 1). Huffington Post Canada – Canadian News Stories, Breaking News, Opinion. Samuel Adams Wins April Fools’ Day With ‘HeliYum’ Beer Ad. Retrieved February 6, 2015, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/01/samuel-adams-heliyum-beer-april-fools-day_n_5071663.html