Content Marketing Minds: Chevy's #BestDayEver as the Best Prank Ever

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There are few things that now make me as jaded as April Fool’s Day. Even writing about it and acknowledging its cursed existence irks me. Frankly, it has become a time to act like a jerk and lie to people. That gets old faster than a banana left outside.

However, Chevrolet have redeemed April Fool’s Day this year with their fun-filled #BestDayEver campaign. It took prankvertising and made it something fun to watch, rather than a ‘Just for Laughs’ (Canadian comedy show, don’t look it up) schtick of clueless ordinary folks being made to look stupid. Mean advertising is sooooo 2014.

What is Chevy’s #BestDayEver campaign?

The basics of the Chevy #BestDayEver campaign is that they were going to take the April Fool’s Day prank and make it fun for everyone involved. Most pranks involve one person feeling humiliated, frightened, or angry, until they’re told what happened and they’re left with humiliation with a side of fame hunger.

The #BestDayEver started on YouTube on April Fool’s Day and was a live stream that lasted for 8 hours. It featured appearances by YouTube stars, athletes, musicians, and comedians who were all doing what they do best. If you have time, here’s the entire 8+ hour stream:

You can also look through the playlist to find your favorite. Here’s the moment that connected with me:

It’s completely stupid and exists only for joy. Everyone had fun and left with a smile, even the cat that was grumpy.

What I like about Chevy’s #BestDayEver campaign

If I didn’t make it clear enough above, I love positivity in advertising. Pranks that do anything but make people smile are awful, I can’t stand them. Chevy have done the right thing here and used their advertising might to make some people happy.

The second aspect of what I like most is how EPIC it is. Eight whole hours, live streamed with no safety net, featuring people who made YouTube what it is. They could not have done any better.

Where Chevy really hit a good note was with the name: #BestDayEver. It being a hashtag makes for some easy social shares and tie-ins as people share their stories, and they customize it. This is a fact for Canadians:

Seriously, someone send me some Timbits.

It was made even better by ordinary people sharing their experiences on Twitter. Some people even got a little ‘5 minutes of Twitter famous’ from the experience:

#bestdayever

The other big aspect of this is how hard YouTube pushed it. There were ads all over the Google network, plus they displayed it in the YouTube masthead leading up to the event. If you’re going this big, you’ve got to partner with YouTube. They’ll love all the content, you’ll love all the exposure.

What I don’t like about Chevy’s #BestDayEver campaign

The big question on my mind, days after the campaign, is now what? Where is the long term usability of all this video they shot and this effort they’ve put into it? You can’t play it over and have ‘the Next Best Day Ever.’ That’s just silly. Pushing all of this content out again will feel off on any day except April Fool’s Day. They’ve painted themselves into a corner a bit, but they likely knew this going in.

The other problem with it is the hashtag they chose. #BestDayEver is one of the more generic and overused hashtags around. Their tweets and Instagram content using that hashtag was buried under other accounts with unrelated content. It was hard to track which conversations were actually about Chevrolet. Here’s an example:

That went out on April 1, but had nothing to do with Chevrolet’s campaign. Clicking on the #BestDayEver hashtag would still bring it up. That tweet wound up with waaaaaaaay more retweets than it deserved because of this.

I feel that Chevrolet should have worked a little harder on the hashtag. I would have batted around ideas like:

  • #ChevyBestEver: The brand is in there, and it doesn’t have to focus so much on just one day.

  • #BestDayEver2015: That 2015 separates it from the rest of the #BestDayEver tweets that are unrelated.

  • #ChevyBestDay: Keeps the brand in, but gets it across that it’s a one day event, creating urgency.

The hashtag they chose wasn’t a total #fail, but I feel that it could have been a little bit more personal.

In the end, Chevrolet created something that I hope more advertisers pay attention to. Let’s make prankvertising fun for everyone – not just those who are laughing.

Content Marketing Minds is an exclusive Social Media Today column written by Matthew Yeoman every other Wednesday.

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