Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Brand Suicide, Corporate Evil, Culture, Cunning, Devious Strategy, Food For Thought, Insight, Marketing, Marketing Fail, Perspective
So over the last few months, there was a lot of commentary about a new, multi-million pound, British research boat that asked the public for help in choosing its name.
Actually that’s not what the commentary was about, it was the fact that one of the names was the utterly brilliant, Boaty McBoatface.
And guess what … it won!!!
However, despite polling four times as many votes as its nearest competitor, the owners of the boat – the British Government – ended up sinking the name, using this as their justification …
“The new royal research ship will be sailing into the world’s iciest waters to address global challenges that affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people, that’s why we want a name that lasts longer than a social media news cycle.”
To be fair, they have a point – especially as the vessel is actually a ship, rather than a boat and Shippy McShipface just doesn’t have the same ring to it – however I still think they’ve made a bad decision.
It is not, as you may think, because the Government have basically just pissed on democracy.
Which they have.
Neither is it that they’ve just failed to embrace the unique wit of the British public.
Which they also have.
It’s because Boaty McBoatface could have potentially helped solve the environmental issues she was built to investigate.
[For the record, boats are always female apparently]
My thinking is that with a name like that, she would have caught the attention of children – and adults – all over the World.
In fact, I could argue she already did.
And if they’d kept that name and harnessed all that attention, children would have wanted to follow Boaty’s journey … they would have taken an active interest in the issues she uncovered and discovered … they would have wanted to help Boaty out and they could have done that by doing the sort of things that slow – or even reverse – environmental decline.
Boaty McBoatface might have actually led to the sort of change in behaviour and attitudes that Earth Hour can only dream about.
Then there’s the fact that with a name like that, Boaty McBoatface could be made into children’s toys or cartoons to raise even more awareness – not to mention funds – in the fight against environmental damage.
I get it might be a bit weird for the scientists who work aboard her, but I could argue that they would be far happier knowing the ship they’re on is not just getting important data, but actively contributing to awareness and change.
But no. It’s going to be something else.
I’m sure it will be respectful and dignified – they say ‘HMS David Attenborough’ is a leading candidate – and I get it, it definitely makes sense … but it won’t have the same impact or potential reach that Boaty McBoatface would have.
Like the ice bucket challenge showed us, if you have tried for years to change something to no avail, sometimes the most radical decisions are the most sensible.
It appears I am in the rare position to be able to offer the British Government some advice … advice I offer to anyone who challenges my response to one of their questions … and that advice is this.
If you don’t like the answer, don’t ask the question.
The good news is that while the Government may have stopped Boaty McBoatface from officially hitting the high seas, you can be pretty sure that’s how she will be known.
After all, the Ferrari Daytona never really existed – it was the 365 GTB/4 – but when it came 1st, 2nd and 3rd in a race, the media labeled the car the Daytona and the name entered the consciousness of the public and has remained there ever since.
So here’s to Boaty McBoatface and the British public – or at least the ones behind this – I salute your wonderful madness.
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