Marketing strategy glosses over poll results in ‘Boaty McBoatface’ naming

After the NERC asked consumers to name its newest research ship, executives have chosen not to use the results. Here’s how brand managers ‘broke the news’ to voters.

For anyone who might have been excited about the prospect of a research vessel carrying the moniker Boaty McBoatface, there’s some bad news.

While the consumer-chosen name won National Environment Research Council’s vote with 120,000 tallies, the organization said it won’t be using it on the ship’s maiden voyage.

“There is a process now for us to review all of the public’s choices,” British Science Minister Jo Johnson told the BBC. “Many of them were imaginative, some were more suitable than others.”

When pressed on why his organization would thwart the people’s will, Johnson responded:

I think we were clear when launching the competition that we were looking for a name that would be in keeping with the mission. This boat…[is] going to be doing science on some of the most important issues facing humanity. Global warming, climate changing, rising sea-levels, these are issues which affect the lives of 100s of millions of people around the world and these are very important themes.

Although he didn’t directly say that the name wouldn’t be adopted, it wasn’t hard for voters to read between the lines.

“You want a name that fits the gravity and the importance of the subjects that this boat is going to be doing science into,” he added.

RELATED: How to eliminate corporate jargon and drive business performance with improved communications techniques. Brand managers at Royal Caribbean tried to get in on the action:

James Hand is the British presenter who came up with the name in the first place. He conceded to NERC on Twitter, perhaps in an effort to quell any internet outrage:

Perhaps the organization is missing the opportunity to reach a broader range of consumers, including those would want to follow Boaty McBoatface’s mission. The boat had a chance to become the most famous scientific research vessel in the world. Instead, consumers get this:


PR Daily News Feed

Sign up to receive the latest articles from PR Daily directly in your inbox.