Ad Watch: The most amusing Automotive April Fools’ pranks of 2011/2012

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All-Fools’ Day. It’s a great opportunity for PRs to drop the pretence of responsible behaviour and unleash the hidden child within, but it takes more than clowning around to produce an effective April Fool’s gag.

April Fool’s humour is an art-form in itself – too outlandish and it will lack the subtlety required to lure the audience in, take the whole thing too seriously and you’ll end up looking awkward and contrived. It’s like a huge open mic night in which people go out of their way to demonstrate how unfunny they are.

Leader in the automotive field is BMW, they’ve made it a key part of their marketing strategy since the year 2000, and even created a section in their BMW Education website to host all their most popular spoofs.

2012 is set to be another bumper year, with several car makers already out of the blocks and one (non automotive prank) I can’t resist sharing from Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.

You can catch up with all the latest pranks as they happen in our dedicated ‘April Fools’ section, and we’ll also update this article to show 2012’s efforts alongside our favourites from last year.

2012

BMW to be exempt from Australia’s Luxury Car Tax

BMW argues that it doesn’t make cars, it makes Ultimate Driving Machines, therefore they should be exempt from the proposed Luxury Car Tax, unlike ordinary station wagons, four-wheel drive vehicles and all limousines….

Build your own MINI Countryman.. from 29,762 individual parts

Here’s an old-media prank from MINI Australia that had their antipodean readers hopping around and getting all excited. Imagine building your own MINI Countryman from 29,762 individual parts….

Honda introduces the Anti-Theft Negotiator

More than a car alarm, TERII uses biometric recognition and FBI hostage negotiating tactics to protect against vehicle theft. Scheduled for inclusion on all 2013 Honda vehicles…

Peugeot launches the first car to change colour with your emotions

Peugeot UK has unveiled an RCZ that uses an innovative reactive paint to change its body colour to reflect your emotions – be it happy, sad or anything in between….

HPI helps singles survive the dating scene and avoid a relationship write-off

The dating game can be hit and miss, sometimes with heartbreaking consequences. Vehicle information expert, HPI, is today trialling a new service to help singletons tell a dream date from a relationship write-off…

Lotus F1 Team resolves Kimi Raikkonen’s steering issues

After weeks of changing steering racks, power steering systems, steering wheel heights and a host of other settings, the Lotus F1 Team design office engineers have found the solution to Kimi’s steering issues….

Google announces autonomous race car partnership with NASCAR

Ever since mankind could go fast, we have longed to go faster. And ever since we’ve done work, we have longed to have someone else, or something else, do that work for us. Now Google bring their driverless technology to NASCAR…

Cut price petrol for one day only

An enterprising petrol station in Musewll Hill, London is taking advantage of last week’s panic buying at UK fuel pumps, by slashing the price of regular unleaded petrol to 39.9 pence per litre. The Shell station, just off Colney…

MINI launches the new Clubvan Concept

Soon the world will also be the oyster of MINI drivers and their entourages. 12 days on from the “official” start of spring, MINI can announce its arrival among the ranks of camping outfitters with the new Clubvan…

TomTom discovers Darth Vader holds the key to making your children happier

Following months of meticulous research, the experts at TomTom’s Navigation Laboratory (NavLab) have discovered a solution to stop babies crying in the backseat. Project GAGA evaluated the full range of TomTom navigation voices….

Beat the hosepipe ban with a self-cleaning Subaru

Subaru is about to take the automotive world by storm with the launch of the world’s first self-cleaning car, with a radical new technology developed by Subaru engineers using their patented AF Technology…

BMW introduces the driverless Running Coach

As an official sponsor of London 2012, BMW has been inspired to develop the new driverless Running Coach feature, which uses a combination of ConnectedDrive technologies and surround view cameras…

Richard Branson launches journeys to the centre of the Earth with Virgin Volcanic

Academy Award winning actor Tom Hanks will join the first expedition, which will target the five most active volcanoes in the world, Etna – Sicily, Italy, Stromboli – Aeolian Islands, Yasur – Republic of Vanuatu,…

2011

Underground-GPS from BMW Australia

The advanced-engineered Underground-GPS system available exclusively in the all new compact and versatile BMW X1, is the only one of its kind capable of showing the streets beneath the streets of Australia’s major cities…

Mitsubishi reveals its Evo replacement – the 345bhp i-MiEVO all-electric car

Mitsubishi teased a new concept for the Evo – called the AF-J on its Lancer Evolution Facebook page. Posing the question, “The next Evo?”, they promised to reveal the full car on Facebook at 15:00 GMT on April 1st…

Autoglass pioneers ‘self-repairing’ glass… for phones

Autoglass® has today announced a scientific breakthrough by developing glass that repairs itself. Scientists at the company’s headquarters in Bedford have been testing the technology on mobile and smartphones over the…

Goodwood follows red brick road at the 2011 Festival of Speed

To celebrate 100 years of the famous Indianapolis 500 race, Goodwood can confirm that it is commencing construction work on the challenging Festival track to cover the entire 1.16-mile hillclimb with one million bricks…

BMW M GmbH develops the world’s fastest pickup

The world’s first high-performance pickup has been created at the BMW M GmbH development centre, with a load capacity of 450 kilos in its generously sized and intelligent lightweight load area…

BMW reveals New M3 Royal Edition to commemorate Will & Kate’s Big Day

As a tribute to HRH Prince William of Wales and Miss Catherine Middleton, a very special Royal Edition of the M3 will be available at BMW Dealerships throughout the country from today – the NEW BMW M3 ROYAL EDITION…

Land Rover introduces the self-levelling tax disc holder

Land Rover has released a novel piece of technology in response to the recent change in tax disc legislation. The self-levelling tax disc holder is an industry first and takes full advantage of our ground-breaking Hill-Descent Control….

Kia Motors says NO to pigeon sh!t

Kia Motors dealers around the UK have launched innovative plans to keep the cars on their forecourts spotless and free from attack by the enemy of all car-owners, bird-droppings!

SEAT reveals its Media Audio Recognition Technology (SMART) nav system

Spanish car maker SEAT’s new SMART system features Automatic Regional Speech Equivalence software that identifies the area through which the SEAT is being driven, and tailors the accent of its navigation instructions accordingly.

Mini takes automotive personalisation to new levels

MINI, a leader in the manufacturing of customised vehicles has introduced a revolutionary paint system that will allow owners to change the exterior colour of their vehicle as often as they change their mood…

Goodwood uses renewable energy source for its Moving Motor Show

To reduce the number of generators used on site, this year’s event will be powered by natural methane gas, taken directly from Goodwood’s extensive herd of Dairy Shorthorn cattle, rare breed of cows usually supplies…
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