Overview: Korean companies prank the public on April Fools’ Day


Although April Fool’s Day is not commonly celebrated in Korea, several Korean
companies stepped up this year to participate in the holiday. Entertainment giants
such as Naver and CGV as well as food industry companies such as Baedal Minjok
joined this year, playing light-hearted jokes on their customers. Though some of these
events were met with some unexpected shortcomings, many of the pranks enacted by
the businesses were overwhelmed with positive reactions.

Some companies did receive backlash on their attempts at pranking their customers
since there were technical difficulties that only created discomfort. Naver Webtoon,
one of Korea’s leading portals for online comics, collaborated with authors of the
comics to reenact their thumbnail in a comedic way. However, the prank backfired, as
it confused readers who were gullible. The site was overblown with comments about
the sudden lags on the site due to the switch on thumbnails—many readers could not
find their favorite comics easily.

“I always open the Naver Webtoon App to read my favorite series Tower of God, at
11 p.m., however, it took me so long to find the comic that it irritated me,” said Jaeho
Hwang (11). “When I opened the episode, I had turned on my data to read the comic
with no distraction, but the lag made reading extremely difficult and slow. I had to
change my data and Wi-Fi numerous times, but the lag was not on my part. It was the
app itself. The comments were blowing up with complains about the lag and everyone
seemed to be on the same page.”

Another subsidiary company by Naver, NaverTv also held an event on its own portal.
They changed the thumbnails on one of the most famous TV shows in Korea, High
School Rapper Season Three. High School Rapper is a rap competition for high
school students dreaming of becoming future musicians. Its third season aired its first
episode on Feb. 22 and has been soaring in popularity. In collaboration with webtoon
artists, the thumbnails for the videos online had been replaced with parody photos.
This had not only gained popularity for webtoons but also surprised many of the show

CGV, a cinema company in Korea, gained significant popularity on the Internet for its
creative staff pranks and events celebrating April Fool’s Day. The company uploaded
a post on the day before April Fool’s that challenged moviegoers to behave differently
than how they normally would when going to the theaters. Those brave enough to
participate and bring bizarre objects such as a 50 kg dumbbell got a prize of a seven
dollar coupon that could be used for any movie in the theater. Participants showed up
in clothing that varied from pajamas to dinosaur onesies. Walking into the theater like
a model, doing a handstand, or moonwalking was also acceptable for the prize. Even
bystanders had a chance to take part in the event; if they took a photo with participants
and shared it on their social media, they had the opportunity to gain five thousand CJ One points.

“When I came out of the theater after watching Us, I thought that I was still in the
movie theater because a person had dressed up as Jason in the movie with a mask,”
Dennis Choye (10) said. “There were several people surprised by the cosplay and
several kids had burst out crying.”

Other than entertainment companies, businesses in other industries, such as food, also
joined in to celebrate the holiday. Just like Uber Eats, Korea also has an online food
delivery service called Baeldal Minjok. Though this service, Koreans often deliver
foods from affiliated companies only, however, Baedal Minjok offered their own
items exclusively on April Fool’s Day. Made of the food items were basic items such
as water, seaweed, mayonnaise, and ramen, but bore amusing puns that advertised

This year’s April Fool’s Day was given a lot more attention than previous years due
to the effect of social media spreading these events held by the companies. Many
spoke of the hilarious nature of these pranks, but many also criticized the extremity
taken by the participants. As several other companies observed the popularity of many
of the pranks, many more businesses are anticipating next year’s April Fool’s Day
and are ready to participate.