Happy April Fools’ Day! We live in a branded hellscape of misinformation and lies! Beware the social feeds today, dear reader. Today is the day that brands replace the shackles of commerce in favor of jokes, with usually indifferent—but sometimes worse!—results. Like that time when Google dropped minions in everyone’s Gmail, or when McDonald’s introduced shake-flavored dipping sauces, or Hasbro changed Mr. Potato Head into Mr. Avo Head.
After a year off from this type of marketing hijinks (the one pandemic silver lining?), this year Volkswagen kicked things off earlier than expected.
Let’s just walk through the events of this week, because it really is worth looking at in its entirety. On Monday, the German carmaker posted a press release that Volkswagen Group of America was “unveiling the official change of its U.S. brand name from Volkswagen of America to Voltswagen of America” to lean into its aggressive electric vehicle production plans. But that release was incomplete, and appeared to be dated April 29, leading many to speculate that it was a mistake, and likely some premature flackulation of a silly April Fools’ Day joke.