April 2024

Drew's Letter

Hi! This is Drew’s Letter, a monthly summary of interesting reads, PR advice and recommendations from the mind of our Strategic Communications Director Andrew Williams.

The Internet’s Worst Day is Over for Another Year

One of the most embarrassing moments of my life happened early in my career (circa 2009) when I rushed into a radio production meeting with what I thought was an incredible breaking news story, only to be reminded upon pitching it that it was April the 1st, and maybe I should check my facts.

In my limited defence, this was a time when even legitimate news organisations would run April Fool’s Day pranks on their websites (some still do, others who value their credibility have sensibly stopped). Journalists who have a reputation for truth and facts are finding out it’s best to avoid blurring the lines – even on social media.

No longer creating their own April Fool’s content, news organisations then had to be wary of falling for the traps set by others – reporting a prank as actual news. That was the snare I almost fell into, and others have not been so fortunate. It became a minefield for news organisations, particularly as the 24-hour and online news cycles became dominant.

Today, April Fool’s Day has become primarily the domain of brands and corporate social media teams, eagerly preparing this year’s excellent prank (excellence not guaranteed). But it comes with significant risk. Many pranks have gone dramatically awry, as Mike Snider details in USA Today.

Nonetheless, companies still see April Fool’s Day on the calendar and think “oh, there’s a good opportunity for content” without considering the skill it takes to pull off a good prank and the possible flow-on effects to their brand.

In 2021, Chaim Gartenberg argued (accurately) that an April Fool’s Day post was almost always a bad idea. When the pandemic occurred, most companies shelved the annual April Fool’s Day prank, correctly assessing that it was not the time. Gartenberg says it should have stayed on the shelf.

Let this be the year April Fools’ Day for brands dies – The Verge

(Narrator: It did not stay on the shelf)

April Fool’s Day posts can create engagement, so that’s good. But they can also create frustration and erode trust if handled poorly. That’s really bad. Is the risk worth the reward?

So next year, if you’re thinking about an April Fool’s Day social media post for your business, ask yourself the following three questions:

1- Is this funny? (Ask someone outside the company for their honest opinion. If they don’t think it’s funny, don’t do it)

2- Will people take this seriously? (If so, don’t do it)

3 – Is your brand the sort to do an April Fool’s prank? Is this an established element of your voice (if not, don’t do it)

Maybe just don’t do it.

Would you spend thousands to watch a solar eclipse?

Everyone knows someone that is really into stars. We have one or two in the Profile Media office (not me, I’m into cool things like musical theatre and professional wrestling). Unlike some topics, though, (*cough* home renovations *cough*) I’m always interested to hear people talk about astronomy, the night sky, and all its various changes and fluctuations.

My interest, however, does not extend to spending thousands of dollars to go and follow a solar eclipse. Though I might have been convinced of the value by De Trinh, who despite being based in Amsterdam, is one of those shelling out a couple of grand for the opportunity.

“Experiencing the eclipse at 30,000 feet – it’s just a totally different view,” said Trinh to the BBC. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”

How much it costs to chase the 2024 total solar eclipse (bbc.com)

Here’s what we liked (or didn’t like) from the world of pop culture this month:

Monkey Man

The actor Dev Patel is probably still best known for his breakout role in Slumdog Millionairebut he’s been doing reliably excellent work in the fifteen years since, including Lion and The Green KnightWith the newly released revenge thriller Monkey Man, he steps behind the camera for the first time – to scintillating results.

Monkey Man tells the story of the Kid, who suffered unspeakable tragedy as a boy and is now out for revenge against those who wronged him as an adult. That’s not an original premise, but Patel brings an intensely original perspective, soaking every frame in light, colour and a cultural specificity you just don’t get in a John Wick or its various imitators.

It’s also unbelievably violent. If you’re squeamish at the sight of blood in movies, you shouldn’t go within cooee of this. But for those with stronger stomachs, it’s probably the best movie I’ve seen in the last month.

3 Body Problem

Netflix has released the mind-bending 3 Body Problem, based on the equally if not more mind-bending book series by Cixin Liu. It’s a story of a group of scientists who come together after the mysterious death of a former friend and colleague, only to be plagued by unusual events and happenings that might indicate we are not alone in the universe.

I have spoken to many people who watched and enjoyed the first episode even with very little idea of what was going on, which is a good sign. If you watched Game of Thrones, you may have a similar memory of watching that first episode and wondering who the heck all these people are. Confusion is not a bad thing as long as the show is still enjoyable!

Bandle

We love a daily game at Profile Media (think Wordle, Connections, Heardle and the like), and our new discovery this month is Bandle, at which I am absolutely DREADFUL.

This is partly because rather than facts, figures and words, Bandle relies on your knowledge of music, and my musical ability is somewhere in the realm of a grizzly bear tearing apart a set of bagpipes.

It was recommended to us by in-house musical expert and social media whiz Joe, who is understandably very good at it.

Here’s how it works: each stage of the puzzle will add one instrumental section of a famous song. First it might be just the drum beat – can you work it out from that? If not, you can add some bass, some piano, other instruments, vocals and finally get an extra clue if you’re still baffled.

It’s a terrific one if the wordiness of the various -dles isn’t your, um, jam, but another daily game to add to the morning rotation to get your brain up and running.

- SUBSCRIBE -

Monthly newsletters delivered straight to your inbox!

More To Explore

Drew’s Letter May 2024

Hi! This is Drew’s Letter, a monthly summary of interesting reads, PR advice and recommendations from the mind of our Strategic Communications Director Andrew Williams.

Ready to take the next step?

Let’s talk about how you can have a bigger impact

Leave your details below and let’s chat about your goals, and how we could help achieve them.

Contact

Phone: 1300 123 110
Email: info@profilemedia.com.au

Profile Media Communications

Copyright © 2024 Profile Media Communications