ui/ux design | social pr | email marketing
We are a mischievous bunch of millennial marketers so while we appreciate holidays like Halloween, nothing gets our blood pumping and creative juices flowing quite like April Fools’ Day. For April Fools’ Day 2015 we decided to prank the internet by creating a fake app so outrageous sounding that it sparked chatter, but with a plausible enough explanation behind it that it could pass as unlikely, but possible, and make it go seriously viral.
We gave ourselves exactly one week to come up with the viral initiative, conduct market research, create a brand identity, design the necessary promotional pieces, develop a website, write copy, create an email subscription process, and reach out to the press.
We dreamed up an app that prevents your phone from shattering on impact in the event of a fall with no external accessories required. We named our far-fetched catch your iPhone app, Chute (like parachute, get it?) and assigned a dedicated hashtag (#OhChute) to be used to aggregate any conversations across social media surrounding the app.
How one prank garnered 6 million impressions
With only days to mobilize our team to create a convincing illusion on the internet of the existence of our mobile app we designed, developed and deployed a logo and landing page for Chute app that accurately reflected modern design trends for current real start-ups. The landing page included a custom image of an iPhone featuring a mock-up design of the fictitious app that was then turned into a gif that demonstrated the kind of cracking Chute could keep from happening. Lastly, we created a video illustrating how Chute actually works.
We launched Chute’s website on March 29th, 2015 and within less than 48 hours the app garnered approximately 6 million impressions from all over the web. A whopping 3,004 people signed up for early access to Chute, 85% of which signed up within 5 hours. Stories covering Chute were published in a few online magazines and a number of publications expressed interest in sharing Chute with their audiences including Mashable, USA Today and TechCrunch.
The day before April Fools, we let the cat out of the bag early in order to let all of the publications interested in writing about Chute in on the joke. On April 1st, our app was featured in a number of April Fools’ Day listicles right alongside pranks by the likes of Google, Uber and Tinder, and Chute even landed on the front page of Digg.
For the detailed steps we took to make Chute go viral, see here.