FOOLING AROUND Less than two months after we launched O2 in 2014, our company was faced with a difficult question. The deadline for a golden opportunity was coming up fast, and we had no plan for how to capitalize on it. It was the kind of question that everyone from young entrepreneurs to Google executives must grapple with: What prank are we going to pull for April Fools’ Day? As much as we wanted to flex our creative muscles, there were a lot of critical goings-on in those early days. We didn’t have the resources to do something too outlandish. So, like any smart startup, we worked with what we had. When we first set up O2’s website, we left a little “Easter egg” on the site. Maybe a few of our longtime fans remember it. One of our purchase options was the opportunity to buy a lifetime supply of our O2 for the low, low price of $100,000. What a steal! Of course, we weren’t serious; it was just something we put up for kicks at the time.
For example, the customer who had bought their lifetime supply was none other than Tony Stark, aka Iron Man. After fighting the Hulk, you’d probably need a lifetime supply of our recovery drink, too. Unfortunately, many of our social media followers didn’t pick up on these subtleties. Again, these were the opening months of our existence, and our supporters were largely friends and family who were ecstatic to hear we’d just made such a huge sale. As congratulatory comments, emails, and phone calls flooded in from our most loyal customers, I realized the prank had backfired. There’s nothing worse than having someone tell you, “I’m so proud — I knew you could do it!” and having to tell them “April Fools’ ...” We took a different tack in subsequent years. With some graphic design wizardry, we were able to mock up some fake products to announce on April 1. We always tried to take whatever was the fitness beverage craze of the time and put our own spin on it. First came “Moo2,” an oxygenated chocolate milk recovery beverage available in three delicious flavors. Then there was O2 Cold Brew, for our coffee lovers out there. We even “announced” an official O2 bucket hat: Why drink O2 after a workout when you can slurp and lift at the same time? While these were fun to dream up, these pranks also backfired in their own way. They were too believable! Every April, we had to disappoint excited customers who couldn’t wait to try our nonexistent products. Maybe we should have just found a way to oxygenate chocolate milk. The silver lining to these pranks is that they reminded us how much folks believe in us. Even when we thought we were being outlandish, the ideas we put out there were met with support and excitement. While it was hard to break the hearts of so many fans every April, being reminded that our fans are the best in the world always brings a smile to my face. –Dave Colina Founder, O2
That phony promotion offered the perfect springboard for April Fools’ Day. So, on the first of the
month, the official O2 Facebook and Instagram accounts announced that we had made our first $100,000 sale. We even included a fake proof of
purchase, complete with Easter eggs that were meant to be hints that this was a prank.
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