April Fools' Day pranks in the UAE: From Emirates to Careem – who was fooled?

Were you already planning a wedding in the sky? Think again

It's April Fools' Day, which means that marketeers the world over have been coming up with fun and cheeky ways to play with their audience, all in the name of tomfoolery.

Sometimes the pranks don't land (we're looking at you, Volkswagen ... or is it Voltswagen?) but they often do!

Here is a round up of some of the best April Fools' Day pranks in the UAE this year... 

1. Emirates's sky-high weddings 

"We're taking love to new heights," Emirates wrote in a gleeful tweet on Wednesday night, announcing that the Dubai airline was going to "launch a special Wedding Service for those who want to tie the knot at 40,000 feet".

Based on the accompanying photograph, the weddings looked set to take place in the business class bar on the A380s – a dream wedding venue for any aviation geeks out there. The key clue that it was seemingly a prank? The wedding date: April 1, 2021.

Emirates has had fun with April Fools pranks in the past. The airline has announced chauffeur-less drones, triple-deck planes and see-through lounges onboard.

This year's announcement seems to have hoodwinked people on social media, who asked: "Is there a link for more information and pricing about this somewhere". Another Twitter user added: "Imagine working on creating this project. Massive excitement @emirates are you hiring?"

2. Careem's new brunch 

Many of the UAE's Careem users will be well acquainted with opening the app come 12.15pm on a Friday, ready to chauffeur them to their choice of brunch. But this April Fools' Day, the ride-booking app is suggesting that it could bring brunch to users, and then take them on the road, with live entertainment for the drive.

"Available from today, the Careem Brunch will appear as a new ride-hailing option, where customers will be picked up by Brunch Captains who will then provide a picnic basket with over 20 food items put together from a list of the most popular food spots in Dubai," a press release from the company reads.

3. Ekar's ekamel 

Ekar, the UAE's pay-as-you-go car rental company, launched ekamel for April Fools' Day 2021.

The "off-road service" is available to book via the app, which promises "a wide range of passenger camels instantly".

According to the company, customers can book an ekamel by the minute, hour or day, and special perks include "free desert parking across the UAE".

“The launch of our new ekamel off-road service allows users to choose from a full array of ekar options, on and off the road," says Stanislav Betin, vice-president of product and operations at ekar. "The diverse range of mobility makes ekar the most unique mobility app in the world."

4. No prank from Google 

For the second year in a row, Google is skipping April Fools' Day because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Instead the company plans to "find appropriate ways to bring moments of joy to [its] users throughout the year", according to an internal memo.

This is only the second time Google has skipped April 1 festivities since 2004.

"Throughout the past year, I have been so inspired by how helpful our products, programmes, and people have been during humanity's toughest times," an internal memo from Google vice president for global marketing Marvin Chow, obtained by Business Insider, reads. "We've done it with sensitivity and empathy, reflecting the range of challenging experiences so many are experiencing globally."

It adds: "As you will remember, last year we made the decision to pause our longstanding Google tradition of celebrating April Fools’ Day, out of respect for all those fighting Covid-19. With much of the world still grappling with serious challenges, we feel we should again pause the jokes for April Fools’ Day this year. Like we did last year, we should continue to find appropriate ways to bring moments of joy to our users throughout the year."

5. A harmless WhatsApp prank 

Cast your mind back to this time in 2020, when PDF documents were regularly shared on WhatsApp with information about Covid-19 and new restrictions being put in place across the UAE, with varying degrees of reliability.

A cheeky UAE WhatsApp user harked back to those times today, with a PDF that is doing the rounds on the messaging app.

"Dubai lockdown guidelines from tonight", the PDF is titled. Whatsapp indicates on the message that it has been "forwarded many times".

When you open the message, however, there is no official message to be found, just an April Fools' Day message.

6. Flying Hala taxis in Dubai 

Another transportation company that got involved with the April Fools' Day fun is RTA's Hala taxis, which claimed to be offering flying taxis in Dubai.

"Hala is excited to unveil our first test flight using a Hala flying taxi on April 11. There’s room for four passengers and one pilot," an announcement read.

There were test flight requirements, passengers were to be aged 18 years or older to participate, and weight limits applied.

But it was all in good fun, and now the company is offering a 15 per cent discount on people's next ride with Hala, using the discount code "PRANKEDBYHALA" on Careem.

7. McGettigan's ‘Mc-Scent-igan’s’ candles

McGettigan's, the popular Irish bar and restaurant chain, announced the launch of four limited-edition candles, "as part of its wider plan to expand into the homeware category, following unprecedented demand".

Realistically, it was part of its April Fools' Day gag.

A press release claimed the launch of four 190-gram scented candles called The Black Stuff, McGett-Together, The Full Irish and Halfway to Christmas, and that production of McGettigan’s ‘Mc-Scent-igan’s’ candles "is underway in a secret factory in the heart of Ireland and will be available sometime in the very distant future".

A quote from Dennis McGettigan, chief executive of McGettigan’s Group, said: "During the lockdown period, I decided to rediscover stagnant hobbies and interests, one of which was candle making. As an avid candle lover and with over 100 candles lit in my home at any given time, they produce, not only a fire hazard but a beautiful atmosphere and even more delightful scent.

"However, I noticed that all the scents did not ignite a fire inside of me, leaving me wanting more. It was then I decided to embark on the biggest personal journey in my life. Creating the perfect candle. Not only was I able to achieve this once but four times over, which we now present to you. I hope these candles warm your home as much as they warmed my heart creating them."

8. KHDA's surprise home visits 

Dubai's private education body, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, has quite the reputation when it comes to memes and having fun with announcements on social media.

On April Fools' Day, it announced that the authority would now be sending in school inspectors unannounced to visit students at homes.

"Due to ongoing distance learning, school inspectors will now begin unannounced visits to family homes. Ratings of each family will be published online to ensure students are receiving adequate support, sleep and chocolate," it posted.

"What’s the criteria for evaluation? What ratings be for white, dark, mint, with nuts, organic cocoa be for chocolates?" one user asked following the pronouncement.

"We support chocolate diversity," the KHDA responded.