Guide to a better Higher-Ed April Fools Joke


Dang. This post comes 4-5 days late (arguably even a week or two late) but the reaction we’ve gotten for April Fools has been massive.

As far as your editorial calendar goes, April Fools Day comes up as a legitimate holiday. And, rightfully so, it’s holiday ripe with content possibilities.

Anything from making your homepage look like an old Geocities-esque webpage (was really pushing for this) to changing the homepage’s colors around to a rival team’s colors (dangerous, but funny). These are all really fun ideas. And a lot of them might stay ideas because either your VP denied it or someone’s gonna get pissed. That’s really the ultimate veto: someone’s bound to not be in on the joke.

I love Oberlin’s prank!

My web and social media team played with the idea of creating fake stories to be put up on social and the homepage banner. The possibility of being denied was higher since there were 4 stories involved, so we skimmed it down to just one story.

Parking is an issue at my institution, especially with students. Hell, this past month has been awful parking-wise– no wonder these kids hate parking at school (there is none).

Me and my designer came up with this image:



Playing with the idea of reconstructing the school to accomodate parking spaces by tearing down buildings for parking lots. Built by year 2020.

Denied. Our VP loved it, but knew it would piss people off.

It’s very easy to upset an administrator or director with these April Fools campaigns/jokes. Your best bet is to really brainstorm, collaborate and satirize something harmless with your web/marketing team.

Consult with your director or VP on what’s the fine line, and how you can walk on that edge. Give yourself a good month to think about an overarching joke. And think about it even more after that.

Our institution has a golden seal at the entrance to one of our busiest buildings. It lies on the floor, and if you step on it, the tradition says you won’t graduate on time. So we came up with a video plan: having an officer give tickets to people who step on the seal. Simple plot, playing with a school tradition that’s offense-less in nature. It worked perfectly!

If you’re doing a fake story– craft a really concise and powerful headline.

“Think again about stepping on the FIU seal. Citations will now be given to anyone who walks on them.”

As far as insights go:

Facebook: 86,000+ reach – 10,000 engaged users (total)
Twitter: 52 Retweets
Youtube: 6,000 views

**By the way, we had to temporarily take the video down because a non-student was filmed, and she wanted her part taken out. Will post as soon as it goes back up**

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