OU’s apocalypse prank brings light after a cold, dark winter

OU’s Communication and Marketing department (OUCM) launched the granddaddy of pranks on students and faculty for April Fool’s Day− a new fake major. The program was called the ‘Post-Apocalyptic Survival Studies’ (PASS) and focused on skills necessary to survive an Armageddon.

Bamboozlements occurred because the prank involved multiple web pages, realistic descriptions of courses and requirements, and even interviews with real OU professors.

For example, Charles Mabee, listed as Director of Christianity Studies, explained how while researching Larry Bird, he found a tablet written in cuneiform that predicted the missing Malaysian jetliner and swamplands in Canada.

Not only were the prank aspects of the apocalypse courses entertaining, but they also conveyed something positive.

“We were just using something fun to get people on board to sign up for their classes,” said Colleen Campbell, who handles digital public relations for OUCM.  “Real ones though.”

If students believed the prank enough to click the link and sign up, they were redirected to a page that read, ‘April Fools! OU will not be offering Post-Apocalyptic Survival Studies (not yet, anyway) But you can register for real classes by logging into MYSAIL.’

We at The Oakland Post found this prank to be a fun and engaging way to appeal to students− and we’re not the only ones.

OU’s April Fool’s Day prank was featured on 99.5 WYCD’s top ten pranks alongside Google, Domino’s and other big name companies.

By the end of the day, the prank was shared via Facebook over 600 times.

“We have far surpassed the engagement we got last year,” Campbell said. “With the whole “Walking Dead” season finale we found it relevant and found it to be something people would want to share.”

The Facebook comments verify that this prank was exceptional. Many students even wish the courses were real.

 “It’s just great to see the variety of reactions you get out of people,” said Jason Willis, the interactive media specialist for OUCM.  “I think we caught a few people off guard and those were the funniest comments.”

The students enjoyed it for its over-the-top, classy humor, but at The Post, we appreciate the University can lighten up and have fun every once in a while.

Some of the professors who participated in the charade agreed.

“I think it engenders a very healthy sense-of-self when we do not take ourselves too seriously. I think you have to be able to poke fun at yourself” said Amanda Burgess-Proctor. 

“I think an occasional light-hearted approach to higher education is healthy,” Mabee said. “If we can’t on some occasions laugh at ourselves, we may be taking ourselves too seriously.”

This prank was actually OU’s second annual April Fool’s Day gag. Last year OUCM publicized the fact that Bear Lake would allow kayak rentals, jet skiing and scuba diving.

“As the social media manager of a brand like OU, you measure your success on how well you can reach your audience,” Campbell said.  “And today, I’d say we went above and beyond.”

We agree Campbell, and we’re looking forward to next year’s prank.