(Seriously, how many lame ass copywriters you think came up with a similar headline, but probably like 3 months before I did?)
In case you forgot all about this, since I’m super late to address it, our friends across the pond ran an online contest to name a $288 million dollar research vessel because science. Because the internet, at times, is fantastic, the contest got gamed and the name “Boaty McBoatface” quickly shot to the top of the leaderboard. It actually ended up winning the contest as well as capturing the glory of the global media for a few brief days. We’re talking from the NY Times to the BBC and everywhere in between.
Never has there been this much attention and talk about damn research and science from all over the world. So what did the folks in charge of the contest do? They shot the name down! Of course, I mean, it’s not prim and proper like science is supposed to be, right? Hell, even Google has a better sense of humor (and branding) than these guys.
Sure, they gave a consolation prize by naming the ship’s “sub vessel” Boaty McBoatface but that does not satisfy my needs. These fools missed a gigantic opportunity here. First off, the official launch for the ship would have been covered by the mass media, no doubt about it. And what about the children?! What better way to get kids interested in science than to have some fun with it? Don’t tell me for a second that Boaty McBoatface bath toys wouldn’t sell like hotcakes, bro.
For a less out-of-date example, look no further than the Pokemon Go craze. Due to the game’s set-up – video characters hidden along a digital map that overlays the real world – local small businesses and even governments have been instantly thrown into the middle of play. It’s been heralded as the biggest mobile game in the history of, mobile gaming I guess. What a freakin’ opportunity for local brick-and-mortars to jump on an international phenomenon!
Some businesses have done just that, from museums to laundromats, taking advantage of the unexpected attention and an influx of foot traffic. I’m sure many of you have heard the (partially true) tale of an Indiana pet shelter who rented out dogs for walks to Pokemon Go players. But many others have gone the party pooper route, turning away potential customers in favor of a “paying customers only” philosophy. Sure, I can understand the hesitation, especially if your store is suddenly overrun by phone-staring teens chasing invisible objects around and disrupting normal operations. There’s a risk/reward element here, and nobody is suggesting a purveyor of fine china invite the masses inside to train Pokemon (whatever that means).
It’s not every day the entire online world is talking about you, and that shit is difficult to manufacture authentically. Just look at these schmucks, thinking they were being cute by faking an announcement about a leaked sex tape. Marketing ain’t easy, yo! But when you catch lightning in a bottle, you might want to think about the best way to take full advantage of that fleeting moment. Don’t be scared to have some fun and experiment.