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.