A number of companies have separately unveiled some quirky new products and services in a bid to capture customer attention for April Fool's Day, including a new version of the popular SodaStream developed in partnership with a retired astronaut.
SodaStream, a kitchen appliance for making homemade carbonated beverages, has teamed up with former astronaut Scott Kelly to launch its new SodaStream.ME product, which allows people to capture the carbon dioxide (CO2) gas naturally occurring in their breath to carbonate drinks.
In a video created to coincide with the launch (below), Mr Kelly explains how surplus carbon dioxide is a major problem for astronauts in space, and the device used to capture it reminded him of his SodaStream at home.
This led him to collaborate with the US-based company to capture freely available CO2 for use in fizzy drinks.
It comes as life insurance provider Integrity Life is appealing to singles with the launch of its new FinLove product, which it has called “the ‘Tinder’ of the insurance industry”.
“If you’re passionate about life insurance but are having trouble meeting someone who, like you, prefers a Term Life policy schedule to a bunch of flowers — then look no further than FinLove,” the company tweeted, noting that it will be available for download on Monday, 1 April.
According to Integrity Life, the artificial intelligence-bolstered app uses data matching to help people find their ideal partner.
Meanwhile, Sydney-based web design firm Flower Store in a Box announced that it had created a world-first “scratch and sniff” website, allowing florist customers to “smell the fragrance of a floral bouquet they are looking to purchase from an online florist store”.
The company said in a statement that its new “iFloralFragrance Online” technology was the result of a five-year development process in conjunction with Australian flower growers, which relies on a Flower Nose Attunement Device to sample floral aromas and encode them into an online database.
“We are really excited about the potential uses for this patented technology, as it allows any humble florist in the world to recreate a customer experience through scent,” said managing director Drew Wentzel.
“Imagine being able to apply this in other industries such as food delivery. You choose exactly which order online for dinner and smell as you are about to order it.
“Flower Store in a Box is offering this to our customers as we see this as an opportunity to increase the conversion rate of online flower sales in a very saturated and competitive market.”
Mr Wentzel said that he has had customers jokingly suggest the technology be adapted for jilted lovers to send “stink bomb messages”, although he said this is not the intended use of the technology.
“We’re hoping that customers will use this technology for the purpose it was built for. We’ve had customers joke they could use this to send stink bomb messages to jilted lovers and that is not what we intend iFloralFragrance to be,” he said.
Of course, none of these products do actually exist — they are elaborate ruses designed specifically for April Fools’ Day.
“April Fools’ pranks have become a SodaStream tradition,” said Matti Yahav, chief marketing officer at SodaStream.
“We took this one to the next level by rooting it in scientific research conducted with a legendary astronaut, making the prank more credible.
“Unfortunately, it’s not real — we can’t solve your gas issues.”
The annual prankathon, marked on 1 April, has increasingly seen businesses of all size go to great lengths to enjoy a laugh with consumers.
Take a look back at some of last year’s April Fools’ Day “inventions”, including chip-maker Pringle’s attempt to enter the cryptocurrency race with the “Pringcoin”.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.