Mr Splashy Pants

Greenpeace has been running a poll to name some whales that are traveling in the Pacific.

29 of the 30 nominations are for either mythical, Zen-ish, or new-age-type names like Kaimana, Shanti, and Aurora.

And then scanning down the list, you see “Mr. Splashy Pants“.

And he’s winning the vote. Overwhelmingly.

While there was some noted vote tampering (votes that are not going to be counted), the reason that Mr. Splashy Pants is winning is because he went viral on the net through blogs and other forms of social media.

Greenpeace saw the opportunity and grabbed it. They’ve extended the voting to capitalize on the buzz. They quickly mobilized to develop Mr. Splashy Pants merchandise. They’re embracing it on their blog.

The entire affair is getting lots of press and it will probably pop up in the MSM in next few days. It’s an immeasureable PR coup for the cause.

But when you read through the comments on their blog and posts on other blogs, you’ll find some Greenpeace supporters who are not happy at all about the name.

One of the main reasons that so many non-profits (and for-profit businesses) languish is that they spend most of their time talking to the people who are already familiar with the cause and are already ardent supporters. While it’s important to cultivate your core, you have to find new people in order to grow. For some of the inside core, this feels like outsiders are hijacking the organization.

Some people are so comfortable and locked up in the “normalcy” of the cause or the business that they can’t see the massive opportunities right below the surface.

This seems obvious — but the best way to get attention is to stand out from the crowd.

Chris Houchens is a marketing raconteur & writer. Connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.

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3 comments on “Mr Splashy Pants
  1. NAT_NUDGE says:

    There is definately a trade-off between pleasing your core supporter base and reaching out to the masses (the age-old dilema political parties wrestle with).
    The interesting thing i think about this greenpeace one is it again shows how the entity that manufactures some campaign (viral or otherwise) generally has little control and little idea of what to do when it satrts to go viral.

  2. Bernice Cheung says:

    Mr. Splashy Pants is definitely a lot more memorable, “out of the ordinary” / surprising than other zen-like names. Similar principles that the book “Made to Stick” talked about.

    It’s great that Greenpeace is able to seize the opportunity!!

    Bernice –

  3. scotty says:

    I thing a lot of folks who are ardent in their support of a cause, whatever the cause is, many times take themselves too damned seriously. I bet that’s why some Greenpeace members aren’t happy about Mr. Splashy Pants.

    I love it!