Product / ServiceAPRIL FOOLS' STUNT
CategoryA05. Branded Live Experience
Contributing Company DDB GROUP NEW ZEALAND Auckland, NEW ZEALAND


Name Company Position
Damon Stapleton DDB Group New Zealand Chief Creative Officer
Shane Bradnick DDB Group New Zealand Executive Creative Director
James Conner DDB Group New Zealand Art Director
Christie Cooper DDB Group New Zealand Copywriter
Paula Brown DDB Group New Zealand Account Director
Elizabeth Beatty DDB Group New Zealand Managing Partner
Kathy Gieck Mango/DDB Group New Zealand General Manager
Katie Walton Mango/DDB Group New Zealand Group Account Director
Kate Carter Mango/DDB Group New Zealand Head of Media Relations
Andy Robbiliard DDB Group New Zealand Print Producer
Jamie Barrett DDB Group New Zealand Planner
James Anderson Two Heads Director
Sonya Berrigan BMW New Zealand Marketing Manager
Joanne McDonald BMW New Zealand Marketing Communications Manager
Edward Finn BMW New Zealand Corporate Communications Manager

The Campaign

New Zealand is a small country with only 4 million people. Because of this traditional advertising is still seen to work quite well. But with more and more people turning to the internet for their news and entertainment New Zealand advertisers are starting to realise they need to start integrating advertising into content more and more.


When BMW asked us to create an April Fools’ stunt that would receive international attention, we wanted to do something that surprised even the most cynical. April Fools’ Day is one of advertising’s biggest events. Especially for BMW, who has one of the longest running histories of April Foolery out of any corporation. But with so many brands now taking part it had become tired and predictable. We knew we had to do something completely different to stand out amongst all the others April Fools' day stunts. So our strategy was to do the opposite of everyone else. Instead of pretending to do something unbelievable. We actually did something unbelievable. We created a Reverse April Fools’, a test, to see who would risk looking like the ultimate fool, for the ultimate car. On the morning of the first of April, we ran a newspaper ad for an 'April Fools’ Special' the ad stated that the first person into BMW that morning could swap their old car for a new BMW. Then we did the last thing anyone expects on April Fools’ day. We did what we said we were going to do. In the dealership, it seemed like any other day. At 7:30am the doors opened, and our winner walked in, nervously handed over her coupon and waited for our salesman to laugh at her. Instead, confetti flew, a crowd came out of hiding, and she was handed a set of keys to her brand new BMW. We teamed up with one of NZ’s top news shows who came along to film the whole thing. The story revealed to New Zealand that the ad wasn’t an April Fools' prank after all. We used social media and PR to send the campaign out to the international news media and the public.

To advertise the April Fools' day special we used the traditional advertising medium. The Newspaper. The ad ran as a strip ad on the bottom of the front page. We did everything we could to make it seem as much like an April Fools' day ad as possible - even turning it into a coupon, something a luxury brand like BMW would never do for real.

Tianna Marsh risked looking like a fool and showed up at the dealership to redeem the coupon. She was rewarded with an amazing live experience and a brand new BMW (with five years free insurance), after handing over her keys to her old Nissan. The story quickly spread around the world gaining $20,403,170 dollars worth of earned media. Videos of the stunt have been viewed by over 5,800,000 people. And with just one tiny newspaper ad we reached millions of people worldwide with 284,125,194 million impressions.

We created a live branded experience that was seen by millions of people around the world. We seamlessly integrated our brand and our product into the centre of the experience. We turned the live experience into a piece of news and entertainment.