To offer girls an exciting reason to be a Girl Scout, we partnered with actress, author, and Girl Scout alum Kristen Bell for an exciting member event. Those who joined or renewed their Girl Scout memberships for the year were invited to attend a virtual experience with Kristen Bell, featuring her book The World Needs More Purple People.
Our goals were to prompt current members to renew their annual membership, to entice non-members to join, and create buzz within our community and external audiences. The GSUSA team was willing to take a risk, and try something new to achieve our goals.
With event registration beginning on April 1, we developed the idea to incorporate a humorous April Fools’ Day joke to generate buzz around the launch (and maybe a little controversy). We wanted to integrate the color purple in our activation—a central theme of Kristen Bell’s book and the event—with the iconic Girl Scout green, which has been integral to our brand for most of our 110-year history.
On April 1, 2022, we announced that after 110 years, Girl Scouts would be changing our official color from green…to purple (Gasp!). We hoped this would create a viral moment, make people laugh, and generate internal and external awareness.
With our idea in place, we had to build an activation to make it come to life. We knew that announcing a color change would generate a lot of talk. From the Girl Scout trefoil logo to uniforms, the color green has long been synonymous with the Girl Scout brand for most of our 110 year history.
Successfully pulling off an April Fools’ joke of this scale was no small feat. With 111 local councils, multiple internal departments and stakeholders, external partners and media, we had to masterfully keep the joke under wraps, collaborating closely to ensure the exciting content and timing were executed perfectly across channels.
However, despite our marketing team’s excitement about the activation, not all of our stakeholders were as enthusiastic. We received pushback from internal leadership, and local councils, and the joke was on the chopping block multiple times. Would our members be upset at such a big change to the Girl Scout Movement which is so steeped in tradition? Would they be caught off guard or angry that we played a joke on them?
We had to convince internal stakeholders that if we followed a well thought out, detailed plan and reveal—while preparing for potential backlash—the risk would be worth the reward of generating buzz and publicity, while making people laugh in the process.
Fortunately, the concerns never materialized, and the sentiment from our community was overwhelmingly positive.
Early in the morning on April 1, 2022, a purple trefoil replaced the green one in the Girl Scout logo across our website and social pages. The website images, social covers, and design details followed suit, changing into a sea of purple.
Once the change was announced in a faux press release directing to our new purple gear in the Girl Scout Shop—a shoppable page on our online store—posts were published across all of GSUSA’s social channels and participating local councils.
Immediately, our community started engaging with our posts. Reactions ranged from excited and curious to confused, and only a few were upset. Once some of our audience realized it was April Fools’ Day, it sparked a lot of engagement. We spent our morning responding to comments with playful banter and Kristen Bell GIFs.
CBS Mornings ran an exclusive clip from a video we created with Kristen Bell to reveal the joke, and introduce the partnership. We drove our fans and followers to TikTok where we posted the actual big announcement of the day, driving awareness and followers on the new channel for us.
Once we carried over the announcements to our additional platforms, Kristen Bell reshared to her stories for her 15 Million followers to see.
The stunt was a buzz-worthy success – thousands of girls and volunteers were in on the delightful joke and were fully invested in the upcoming event!
By creating this viral moment, our April Fools’ joke earned national attention for an event that would typically only resonate with our existing members. Not only did the April Fools’ Joke spark chatter, it also allowed us to use humor to draw attention to the Girl Scout mission and the exciting event with Kristen Bell.
Our main KPI was Girl Scout member joins and renewals. Thanks to our stunt, the event delivered a record number of membership renewals within 24-hours. The total revenue from memberships during the full registration time period was $9.3m. Ultimatley, 48K Girl Scouts registered for the event with Kristen Bell!
Our audience was engaged and delighted! Here's a sampling of community feedback:
Additional metrics for internal and external reach within the first 24-hours: