April 1 has long been a spectacularly annoying day to be alive, with brands falling over themselves to be “funny” and usually revealing themselves to be anything but. This was almost tolerable in the days when we were talking simply fake advertisements in print media, but it has taken on a new dimension online, as companies have actually modified the services that we rely on daily in an attempt to be “funny.
This was particularly striking in Google’s 2016 mic drop feature on Gmail, where clicking the “mic drop” button sent a recipient a gif of a minion—a vile affront to humanity in and of itself—and then muted and archived the conversation, thus hiding any responses to it. Cue widespread complaints from users who clicked the button by accident, denying themselves jobs and offending their bosses.
Microsoft, for one, wants no part of this. In a move that can only be welcomed, Microsoft’s Chief Marketing Officer Chris Capossela sent a company-wide e-mail (leaked to the Verge) imploring staff to refrain from creating any public-facing April Fools’ Day stunts. Capossela writes that according to the company’s data, the stunts have “limited positive impact” and can result in “unwanted news cycles.”
While Microsoft has thus far avoided any Gmail-esque April Fools’ debacles—instead preferring jokes like 2015’s “MS-DOS for phones” app—it’s clear that Capossela wants to avoid any risk of needlessly tarnishing the company’s image.
Now, we can only hope all the other brands will follow suit and endeavor to give us an April 1 that passes just like every other day.