April Fool's Day: Pranks Around the World

April 1, 2014 by Acclaro
Category: International & Global Translation Services, Culture

Thanks to the internet and viral marketing, April 1st has become a bonafide field day for companies around the world that leverage the holiday to generate spring buzz for their brands. From fake tech products, such as the Nokia Touchscreen Lumia microwave, to bogus publicity stunts, like Starbuck’s new Plenta 128-ounce drink, All Fools’ Day is truly a competition in devious creativity for the world’s top brands. You probably remember some of last year’s highlights:

  • Google announced “nose”, a search-by-smell feature
  • Vimeo changed its name to Vimeow, a site featuring cat videos
  • Scope released bacon-flavored mouthwash
  • Sony created headphones for cats
  • Twitter announced it would charge $5 per month to use vowels in tweets
  • Virgin Atlantic created a glass-bottom airplane
  • Netflix added categories such as “TV Shows About Seriously Pissed Off Wives”
  • YouTube claimed it was shutting down

As these and other major companies entertain the world with globally-reaching farces, employees are also getting into the spirit of April Fool’s. In some company cultures, pranks are seen as hip and the more outlandish the farce, the better (within reason, of course). If you need some inspiration for a prank to pull on your boss later today, check out The Examiner’s Top 12 list from last year.

At Acclaro, we celebrate April 1st in a plethora of languages both here in the States and in our offices around the globe. Here are three of our April Fool’s stories from Germany, Italy and Russia:

Daniela Eaton, Acclaro Program Manager
Everswinkel, Germany

daniela eaton
"In Germany we say “April, April” when we play a trick on someone. In my region, the local newspapers usually publish fake stories and then clarify the next day. One time they published a story about a filling station for military vehicles that the British soldiers had left behind. The story read that since the piping was installed and no longer in use, they were going to build a direct line to a local brewery to provide us quicker access to beer.  Too bad this turned out to be false!"


Alessia Petrucci, Director of Translation
Cutigliano, Italy 

alessia petrucci


"In Italy, we used to stick a paper fish on people’s backs so they would walk around without knowing. We thought that was the funniest thing when we were in elementary school! We would tell improbable lies and then cry ‘pesce d’Aprile!’ (April fish). It was also typical to circulate rumors about something terrible happening to Berlusconi, which we loved to believe even if we knew they weren’t true!"



Anya Cherico, Globalization Recruiter
Yekaterinburg, Russia

anya cherico

"While April Fool’s is less celebrated in Russia, some Russians recognize it by playing small and silly jokes on each other. They may say “Your back is white” (meaning you have some white paint on your back) or “You have a hole in your pants.” If a person reacts, we say: “С первым апреля!” (Happy April 1st!) or “Апрель-никому не верь” (Don’t trust anyone in April). It is not uncommon for some Russians to prank each other for the entire month of April, not just the first day."

How do people celebrate April 1st in your culture? What was the best prank from your office today? Share your story with us on Facebook or Twitter. And then contact us to learn more about how we can score your brand some global publicity — no pranks required!

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Smart, fun and useful. Acclaro shares news and tips on translation, localization, language, global business and culture.


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