April Fools!

Minnesota companies pull pranks on customers, social media followers for April Fool’s Day

By Anne Kopas
Wed, 2017-04-05 11:04

It’s that time of year again. It’s springtime, the flowers will soon be blooming, and the jokes are in the air. After all, Saturday was April Fool’s Day, and several Minnesota companies and organizations took the opportunity to prank their customers, fans, and social media followers. Below are some of the highlights:

A year after announcing the “Original Ely Electric Paddle,” the city of Ely is introducing Canoeber, a new canoe ride-sharing service. “It’s like Uber, but for canoes!” the city announced in a Facebook post on Saturday. “Now, with a tap on the Canoeber mobile app, visitors on any of the area lakes can summon a nearby Ely-based canoeist to transport them to campsites, resorts or anywhere else along the 1500 miles of canoe routes.”

Meanwhile, the University of Minnesota unveiled a “slight change” to their traditional logo, presumably to pique the interest of emoji-loving high school seniors. Last year, they announced the “retirement” of Goldy Gopher, the beloved university mascot.

Target’s online AwesomeShop was taken over by cats for a day. Instead of the usual Instagram photos of classy shoes and chic home décor, Saturday’s feed was full of four-legged friends sharing their favorite collars, pet shampoos, and more. 

The Mall of America introduced “texting lanes,” where people can drift into a specific lane to send texts and social media messages, then rejoin the crowd when they’re ready to rest their thumbs. Social media responses suggested that this actually isn’t a bad idea.

Other high-profile company pranks elsewhere in the country included Google’s “Google Gnome” outdoor lawn assistant, Progressive’s new policies for life insurance on Mars, Lexus’ “lane valet” (which hijacks nearby slow cars and moves them into the right lane), Duolingo’s emoji language-learning course, and more.