Fast Food Social Media Pranks We Wish Were Real

Marketing wizards have been using April Fools' Day to their advantage since the dawn of social media. Gullible netizens fall over their fingers to share doctored images, giving tons of free publicity to their favorite brands. Bud Light gave us Pizza seltzer, Peeps gave us cauliflower bunny marshmallows, and Disney even got in on the action by creating snack cup Mikey ears for your turkey legs and other delicious Disney treats.

But it is fast food giants like Burger King and McDonald's that offer us the most exciting content every year on April 1st. They are able to walk a line between plausible and impractical, coming up with creations that we never knew we wanted, but now can't live without. Sadly, these fast food pranks will never see the light of day, and we have to hold on to that brief moment of joy when we still thought they were real. Have a look at these ingenious social media pranks by your favorite fast-food chains and dream along with us about an alternate universe where these might exist.

Burger King's sourdough everything announcement

People's obsession with sourdough seemed to rise faster than a dough ball on a summer's day. By the start of 2021, the demand for this high-end and healthy bread more than tripled, and it seemed everyone and their aunt had a sourdough starter lurking in a pantry. Burger King decided to get in on the action in 2021, buttering two buns with one stroke as it was April Fools' Day and also National Sourdough Day in the USA. The fast-food giant sent out a tweet saying "YOOOOO WE'RE PUTTING EVERYTHING ON SOURDOUGHHHH TOMORROW LETSSS GOOOOO."

And with everything, they meant EVERYTHING. Some of the cleverly doctored images included cheesy tots, chicken fries, french fries, chicken nuggets, mozzarella sticks, and onion rings on sourdough. In all honesty, these all sound delectable, and we wouldn't think twice before buying one. However, when it comes to their desert offerings, we became a little more skeptical. Hershey Pie, chocolate chip cookies, and milkshakes can all be left out of this equation in our humble opinion.

McDonald's Micro Mac

The mighty Big Mac has been a staple on McDonald's menus since 1968. It is the go-to order for millions of McDonald's fans, and Adweek even calculated that 17 Big Macs are eaten every second in the USA. But what if you want your special sauce fix and don't have room for two all-beef patties lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, and a sesame seed bun?

McDonald's shared a promo video for the Micro Mac as an April Fool's prank in 2017, but this tiny treat looks just like the guilt-free McDonald's item we need. Although we might need a handful to curb our cravings, we would still give it a go. We just feel bad for the staff that has to wield the tiny spatulas to cook the micro patties. This one might need a little more workshopping before it can become a reality, but we are ready to try it.

Red Lobster licorice straws

The war against straws is an ongoing struggle, with paper straws getting gross, bamboo straws tasting like a pencil, and people hitting their teeth against metal straws. Red Lobster saw their chance for an easy and effective April Fools' prank in 2019 and fooled us all into thinking they found a solution to our soggy straw nightmares. "Starting Summer 2019, red licorice straws will be our 1st test for an eco-friendly alternative for plastic straws! Soon, you may even be able to enjoy that drink with a Cheddar Bay Biscuit flavored licorice straw. What do you think about this sweet move?" they wrote on their Facebook page.

This idea isn't completely out of the realm of possibility, but we can see ourselves asking for straw replacements faster than they can bring them. Red Lobster later updated the post to spill the beans, but also invited patrons to bring their own licorice straws as the chain aimed to completely eliminate plastic straws by the end of 2020. Many sweet-tooths have been doing this for years at the cinema, but getting them for free at a restaurant seems like a much more desirable alternative.

Auntie Anne's essential oils

Anyone who has ever walked in a mall or airport can attest to the power of the unmistakable Auntie Anne's smell. The aroma of freshly baked buttery pretzels is distinct, seductive, and irresistible; coincidentally everything you need in a perfume or essential oil. Auntie Anne's ingenious 2018 April Fools' campaign had us reaching for our wallets before we had a chance to check our calendars.

"Introducing the newest line of essential pretzel oils from 'House of A.' Scents include Freshly Baked, Salty, and Cinnamon Twist" they tweeted. They even launched a "House of A" website to support their ruse. Some of the benefits listed on the website say that it increases saltiness, freshens breath, alleviates pretzel cravings, and improves palate. They also put out a press release explaining the method behind this madness. "We always want to give our fans what they want, and given how trendy essential oils are right now, we thought there was no better way to satisfy the pretzel-loving public than with products modeled after our signature offerings."

The Dunkin' super dough holder

While Red Lobster was battling plastic straws, Dunkin' waged a war on cup holders. Their 2019 April Fools' Day campaign was a gluttonous take on traditional coffee sleeves, and we are here for every moment of it. Two giant donuts would keep your coffee cup drip-free and provide you with a delicious treat along the way. We are willing to overlook the obvious hygiene and stickiness issues if we can get our hands on these giant donuts.

The chain took the viral opportunity to also market its Easter offerings, including Peeps donuts and coffee. It also gave them a chance to pick up on some feedback from customers, including the need for vegan options and a more realistic zero-waste approach. "This is great, but can you please spend an extra cent or two and get [decent] quality plastic cup lids. The current ones leak liquid. Cuz [I'm] about done" wrote one frustrated customer on Dunkin's Instagram page. It sounds like a super dough holder would solve that problem in a heartbeat. 

In-N-Out Burger does NYC

The East Coast versus West Coast rivalry moved away from fashion and hip-hop and made a pitstop on the burger front. This time, it wasn't the clever doing of the chain itself, but instead, the New York Bucket List Instagram page that was behind this ingenious April Fools' Day prank. The page welcomed In-N-Out — a proudly West Coast eatery — to New York, as they claimed 12 locations would open in Manhattan. To add fuel to the fire, the burger shop would supposedly open in one of the city's most iconic buildings.

"Its new NYC flagship will take over the top 5 floors of the Flatiron building, directly across the street from NYC OG Shake Shack, " they wrote on social media. The post garnered more than 60,000 likes, and people continue to be fooled by this clever dupe, even commenting on their excitement for this announcement two years after its original posting. It might be time to revisit this idea after all.

Einstein Bros. creates bacon coffee

The trend of baconiszing everything has brought us bacon candles, candy, and even toothpaste. So when Einstein Bros. told us they would be putting bacon in their coffee, we weren't the least bit surprised. "Love bacon? Love coffee? We totally get it! That's why we have created the irresistible Applewood Smoked Bacon Dark Roast Coffee" they wrote on Instagram on April Fools' Day back in 2016. It was quickly debunked as a prank, and we are yet to see any coffee masters take inspiration from this combo.

Adagio Teas have gone so far as to create bacon tea, but it has received mixed reviews. Famous YouTube taste-testers and bacon lovers Rhett and Link sampled the tea on Good Mythical MORE and were not fans. Rhett said that he "thinks there are some places we simply shouldn't go as a species." We have a suspicion that the saltiness of a bacon strip would pair perfectly with our morning cup of joe, so this Einstein Bros. creation might be borderline ingenious. There is only one way to find out. 

Chick-fil-A Steak Filet Sandwich

Chick-fil-A is no stranger to genius marketing ploys, and their renegade poultry-promoting cows have been around since 1995. Their message was clear: "Eat Mor Chickin." So, it is understandable that we were scratching our heads back in 2012 when we saw a promotional ad for a juicy-looking steak sandwich from the chicken chain. This story was so believable that it even resurfaced almost 10 years later, prompting USA Today to do a fact-check to put all rumors to rest. The slogan for the Steak Filet Sandwich read: "We didn't invent the steak sandwich. We just perfected it."

Barbecue blog BBQ Hawkes even posted a very believable review of the sandwich to make the prank even more realistic. However, keen observers noted that the review would have happened on a Sunday, but it is one of the chain's core ideals to be closed on the Sabbath. Chick-fil-A cleared the air on Facebook the day after April Fools' Day and wrote: "April fools! Did you really think we would release a steak sandwich? Chick-fil-A has always been and will always be committed to serving the best chicken." Judging by the comments on the post, it is safe to say we wouldn't be the only ones lining up for this fillet the day it materializes. "This isn't even funny, smh it's sad because now I want that and can't have it. It's like you ripped part of my soul away from me," one angry fan wrote.

McDonald's Shake Sauce

The McDonald's menu lends itself to tons of customizations, menu hacks, and secret orders. One of the most popular creations is dipping warm salty fries in a creamy sweet McDonald's milkshake, and you would be lying if you say you haven't tried it. McDonald's tapped into this fandom and launched an extensive Shake Sauce campaign in 2019. They shot multiple promos featuring the product and created ultra-realistic packaging for their iconic 12 oz. sauce containers.

There was an overwhelmingly positive response in the comment sections of Twitter and Facebook, which might have come as a surprise. Papa John's tried a similar tactic in 2017 by creating a gallon of their famous garlic sauce as an April Fools' Day joke. The prank garnered so much momentum that they decided to eventually release the product for a limited time a year later. So, if ever there was a cause to rally behind as a collective of Internet users, we vote McShake Sauce be the one.

Burger King's chicken fries shake

Burger King has firmly cemented itself among the champions of April Fools' Day, with several successful pranks getting people fired up behind their keyboards. They went so far as to crowdsource its campaign in 2019. Their 2016 prank was one of their less-successful attempts, and it didn't garner much attention with only around 200 retweets and less than 130 shares on Facebook. Their chicken fries milkshake came with little explanation, only noting that "it's too good to be true."

Some of their more successful campaigns involved informative videos like their Pregnancy Burgers in Germany or gave some social commentary like their pink tax stunt. But nonetheless, this unlikely pairing grabbed our attention, and we wish we had a chance to try it. If the salty and sweet combination of chicken and waffles is anything to go by, this shake might just hit the spot. Even if it is a dismal failure, you can color us curious, and we will be first in line to try this concoction — even if it is just to post pictures of the adorable cup.

The McDonald's subscription box

Call us old-fashioned, but we just love the idea of a subscription box. So when McDonald's announced the MmmBox, we were already typing in our addresses before we realized what day it was. Some considered this one of the best April Fools' Day pranks, and we couldn't agree more. The MmmBox promised to match your favorite menu items to your lifestyle, and you would get one of three fabulous boxes in the mail. Each box came with a McDonald's menu item and a few accompaniments to go with your aesthetic.

"The Ribster" box included a McRib, plaid napkins, and a mustache comb — everything the hipster inside you needs. "The Artisan" promised handcrafted satisfaction and included sequoia toothpicks and a weaving loom with a chicken fillet burger. "The Minimalist" speaks for itself with a large box containing a single fry and a dollop of ketchup. "Less is so much more" the box reads. Might we suggest a MmmBox called "The Lazy Bones?" It should include a Big Mac and a big blanket for the days when we simply can't get off the couch.

Bottled Shake Shack sauce

Another stellar sauce prank came courtesy of Shake Shack in 2019. They posted pictures of their legendary sauce bottled in three different sizes. The mere idea of an endless supply of this sauce at home had us instantly drooling. In 2017, Shake Shack brought out their own cookbook that shared the secret to this deliciously tangy creamy sauce, but buying it in a jar seems so much more effective. The recipe is pretty simple and is a combination of mayo, ketchup, Dijon mustard, cayenne pepper, and dill pickle brine. 

"We've heard ya loud + clear: you're crazy about ShackSauce! Now you can have it anytime, anywhere, on anything. We're officially launching a line of bottled ShackSauce in three sizes perfect for every occasion," they posted on their Facebook and Instagram pages. Fans were deeply disappointed when the Shack announced that it was a prank, but they did have a glimmer of good news. On April 2, they ran a very real competition giving away five bottles of their sauce to lucky fans. We particularly love the sauce bottle keychain, which would allow us to take our favorite condiment everywhere. We suspect daily refills will be necessary, though.

Burger King's Whopper toothpaste

Burger King in France seems to be on top of their April Fool's game and knocked it out of the park two years in a row. In 2016, they gave a whole new meaning to "skinny fries" by selling single French fries, but it is their 2017 advertisement for Whopper toothpaste that got us excited. Everything from the stiff acting to the medical animations was dead ringers for traditional toothpaste ads, and the attention to detail was faultless.

This ingenious product claims to leave the taste of a Whopper in your mouth, long after you have brushed your teeth. If we could walk around with that delicious beefy aftertaste all day without worrying about the calories (or the smell, honestly), we would relish the opportunity. The YouTube comment thread also delivered a few golden nuggets, with one viewer noting onion floss might be next and many expressing disgust in themselves for strongly considering this purchase. We can't help but wonder, how many dentists would recommend this tasty toothpaste?

Pizza Hut's doggy delivery service

Over the years, we have been taunted with sauce sales, indulgent new menu items, and a crazy invention or two from our favorite fast food chains on April Fools' Day. But Pizza Hut topped them all with a single image in 2019. "Pizza M.U.T.T." was the service we have all been dreaming of, and despite its implausibility, we have been obsessing over this idea ever since. Their Mini Urban Transportation Team (M.U.T.T) would consist of a fleet of pizza-delivering puppies. "He don't protec. He don't attac. But he do deliver a pizza snac. Now announcing the Pizza M. U. T. T.," they tweeted.

The question now stands, which dog would make the perfect pizza delivery dog? Labradors are fast and smart, but could they resist the urge to take a bite from your delivery? Corgis have the perfect flat back to balance a pizza box, but by the time those short legs make it to your house, the pizza is cold as ice. We will rather leave this conundrum up to the experts, but we do request that Pizza M.U.T.T. materializes sooner rather than later.