It is April 1st today and yesterday I thought about planting a story I was changing gender and wanted, from now on, to be known as Jean Fleming.
But, frankly, I couldn’t be bothered setting it all up believably and the self-publicity was not necessarily all positive.
April Fool jokes can turn and bite the begetter.
As I write this, it is 09.30am and already April 1st stories have appeared, a couple good, one bad.
At 00.25am this morning, comedy club-runner Martin Besserman posted a Facebook message saying:
An excellent idea, because it is just about believable, especially at 00.25am in the morning. I almost fell for it, because Martin is an increasingly prestigious man, or so he tells me. In any case, what you remember longer-term is Monkey Business being associated with some sort of up-market area.
When I woke up an hour ago, I had a Facebook message from Dan Berg of go-getting comedy streaming company NextUp saying:
Hey John, Hope all’s well! I remember you sat in the front row for our gigs so thought you might like this – a lil bit of NextUp technology which launched today so the front row is never too far away… http://lologram.co.uk
It was touting a new concept in which you can project video holograms of comedians in any location.
Exactly the sort of thing he and NextUp might do and it projected a PR image of a futuristic forward-thinking company. A comedy hologram called Lologram sounds like a great name. Good PR for NextUp.
I also received an email from the Edinburgh Fringe which announced that they are building a roof to cover the area of the Royal Mile sponsored by Virgin Money… and they want you to fork out money to crowdfund it… So they have a financial sponsor (Virgin Money) and they want punters to help finance the financial sponsor.
A good April Fools joke – maybe – but one which rebounds as bad PR for the Fringe, given that it makes you wonder yet again what Virgin is actually sponsoring. Not the Fringe Programme, where a 40-word entry costs £300-£400 for 40 words and costs an arm-and-a-leg for a quarter page ad.
The seed is also planted in your brain (even though you know it is not true) that Virgin Money are calling themselves sponsors but do not have enough money and are asking ordinary people for crowdfunding to make what they do seem better.
April Fools jokes should be jolly, but not leave a funny PR taste in the mouth or egg on the face.