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Retailers hit and miss with April Fools gags

Online retailer FreshDirect and other food retailers, as they do every year, on Tuesday sought to leverage April Fools' Day in some humorous marketing campaigns.

In an email to customers sent out on April 1, New York-based FreshDirect announced a fishy new product — “eagle-caught salmon” — complete with a detailed description of this sustainable new harvesting method.


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“Since we launched harpoon-caught swordfish in 2013, we've been searching for the best in fresh and sustainable seafood,” the retailer said. “We're excited to introduce eagle-caught salmon, sold exclusively at FreshDirect and biked in daily from the banks of the Salmon River in Pulaski, N.Y., straight to NYC's Pulaski Bridge without breaking the cold chain. To ensure these salmon are caught and dropped sustainably, we sponsor our own birds in the wild.”

The humorous post goes on to explain how the salmon can be prepared by “tucking butter into the talon holes.” When customers click on the link in the email, they are sent to an area of the website with a banner proclaiming that “You got caught!” along with an assortment of (presumably) real salmon products.

And PCC Natural Markets, Seattle, posted its annual fake April Fools website, this year touting the new “Pliocene diet — inspired by the Seattle mammoth tusk,” along with fake recipe headlines for tempeh-roni, vegan turducken and other concoctions. When customers click on the site, they see a pop-up explaining, “You didn't think we were serious, did you? April Fools!”

Not all shoppers were in the mood for such silliness, however. A fake post on the Facebook page of Schenectady, N.Y.-based Price Chopper about no longer accepting pennies was greeted by some protests from posters who said they would be taking their business elsewhere. Even after the company explained it was a joke, some said it was just “not funny.”

Asheville, N.C.-based Earth Fare, however, scored a few “likes” for its Facebook post about a fake new service called Mysto-Olfacto-Essence “that combines nutrition with New Age thinking.” The service it says, leverages dogs’ sense of smell to determine customers’ dietary needs. See the video below.

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