Webjet April Fool's Hack Day for a year's worth of links


As part of our 2019 Hackathon we created a viral April Fool’s Day campaign for Webjet, which ultimately gained the same number of links in one day that would normally be expected over a year.

Hackathons give us an opportunity to practice the collaboration and out-of-the-box thinking that’s intrinsic to Sparro.

Split into groups and assigned a project with a pressurised time-frame, teams get the chance to work with colleagues and clients in ways that fall outside of the usual remit. This sparks the kind of innovation that’s so often key to the best outcomes.


We treated the project like a traditional PR campaign.

Link building and outreach was done solely by the Sparro team. We put together a list of news and editorial sites we wanted to attract across Australia and the UK, and contacted them with news of our promotion.

We took a staggered approach to outreach, communicating with journalists and editorial teams incrementally pre-and post-launch.

Knowing that news outlets typically do a round-up of the best April Fool’s Day pranks, we built a specific landing page that spoke about “the deal” and pitched this out to journalists. The response was great – with a number of high-profile publications picking it up.

After the blog post went live, we began to personalise our approach with phone calls and further follow-ups, as well as chasing down mentions of the promotion online. We also posted on self-submit sites like OzBargain and Reddit to drive traffic.


We went into our 2019 “Hackathon” with an overall focus on SEO, link building and client collaboration.

And having timed it with April Fool’s Day, we were also (enthusiastically!) looking to embrace the viral potential for pranks and practical jokes.

The process kicked off with the Sparro team split into small groups, each given a client to work with and an afternoon to come up with three campaign ideas – set to go live on April Fool’s Day.

One of those clients was Webjet, for whom we delivered the ‘Brexit Flash Sale’ concept – which was ultimately the most successful. The concept, in a nutshell, was this: Webjet offered flights out of the UK to Australia as part of a “Brexit Flash Sale”, encouraging travellers to leave the UK and all its political going ons for only $1.

As with the best pranks, it was a subtle mix of the silly with a dash of believability. And with Brexit negotiations ongoing, it was a good chance to tap into a trending topic – while, of course, poking a little (good-natured) fun at the Brits.

A clear winner when put to a team vote, it was quickly approved by Webjet.

Surpassed expectations

Sparro surpassed expectations by delivering a large number of mentions from reputable publications on a very lean budget.

Cameron McQualter
Performance Marketing Manager, Webjet

76 backlinks from major publishers

Through outreach efforts in both the lead up-to and during the April Fool’s campaign, we were able to secure 76 backlinks to Webjet Australia. Some of the major players here included News.com.au, the Washington Post, MSN, Daily Mail and the New Zealand Herald.

By our estimates, if each link gained was paid for (based on each site’s DA) the total minimum cost for Webjet Australia would be $120,500.

In addition, we also secured a number of referral backlinks from publications such as News.com.au (175), the Washington Post (579) and Buzzfeed (556). Meanwhile, a spike in traffic was noted across multiple Webjet pages, including a 361% increase on their blog.

Having delivered the same amount of links that might be expected to be gained over a year, a key takeaway from the Hackathon was figuring out how to build links at scale. It was also testament to Sparro’s ability to work creatively and flexibly under pressure to realise great outcomes for our clients.

The Outcome

links from top publishers
domain authority
da from the top site
Morris Bryant
Cameron Bryant
Sparro Digital Marketing Level 12, 35 Tumbalong Boulevard,
Haymarket, NSW Australia
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