Mister Splashy Pants

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The Mister Splashy Pants logo, created by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, that gained fame on the internet.

Mister Splashy Pants, or Mr Splashypants, is a humpback whale in the South Pacific Ocean. It is being tracked with a satellite tag by Greenpeace as a part of its Great Whale Trail Expedition,[1] which was working to raise awareness about whales threatened by the Japanese Fisheries Agency's hunting of 50 humpback whales annually. The whale's name was chosen in an online poll that garnered attention from several websites, including Boing Boing[2] and Reddit,[3] quickly becoming an internet meme. Mister Splashy Pants became the subject of a TED Talk[4] by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, titled "How to make a splash in social media."

History[edit]

Greenpeace humpback whale naming poll, 2007
LocationOnline
DateNovember–December 2007
Results
Mister Splashy Pants
79.58%
Humphrey
2.87%
Others
17.55%
Website: greenpeace.org
Assuming 150,000 votes total

Originally, Greenpeace had accepted 30 names for voting. Among the more unusual names was what was possibly intended as a joke,[citation needed] "Mr. Splashy Pants". On 26 November 2007, the user of an IP address in Arizona, United States found a way around the one-vote system by disabling cookies, and began voting at 120 votes per minute for 38 minutes without pause.[5]

The massive leap in votes for the name attracted the attention of b3ta.com,[6] 4chan's /b/ board, BoingBoing, reddit, Digg, and numerous blogs. Though Greenpeace removed the extra votes from the results, users from the social networking sites flocked to vote for the name, and the percentage moved quickly from 5 percent to 75 percent in less than a day. In response to the spike, Greenpeace decided to hold the competition open for an extra week, until 7 December. Reddit took the voting so seriously that they temporarily changed their logo to feature Mr. Splashy Pants.[7] Facebook also began garnering interest, and a Facebook application was created with the tagline "Vote your conscience, vote Splashy Pants." On the 30th, Fark.com posted a thread linking to the voting as well, and for a few days internet traffic on the Greenpeace server spiked to almost untenable levels.[citation needed]

There was some controversy over the naming, with TreeHugger[8] and an associated blog[9] initially claiming that the name was not beautiful enough, and seeking to instigate votes for the other names. According to Greenpeace insider Brian Fitzgerald, the name also was controversial within the organisation.[10]

On 10 December 2007, Mister Splashy Pants was announced as the winner of the competition. 150,000 people reportedly voted, and 'Splashy' received 119,367, over 78 percent of the votes. The nearest rival was Humphrey at 4,329 votes, or less than 3 percent. The other top ten names, like Aiko, Libertad, Mira, Kaimana, Aurora, Shanti, Amal and Manami, received less than 1 percent each.[11] Reddit alone was responsible for 20,322 of the votes.[12]

Outcome[edit]

After their initial reluctance Greenpeace embraced the result of the popular vote and used the name at the center of its campaign. The added publicity, at no cost to Greenpeace, gave it enough impact to convince the Japanese government, and the plan to hunt Humpback whales was abandoned in December 2007.[13]

In Campaign Magazine, advertising guru Russell Davies praised Greenpeace's handling of the campaign as "one of the defining moments in New Media marketing."[14] The name has since spawned clothing, logos, flashvideos, and the slogan "Save Mister Splashy Pants."

Sightings[edit]

Mr Splashy Pants used in political statement.

The Mr Splashy Pants logo, created by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, appeared at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minnesota the same day as a front page story appeared on Reddit stating that the college had erected a wall at the request of Muslim students to separate men from women in the college's meditation room. The image was placed there after the Reddit community protested about the wall on their forums.[15]

The movements of Mr Splashy Pants and other tracked whales may be followed on Greenpeace's website.

Pop-culture references[edit]

  • On 6 November 2009, in Mysore, India, Alexis Ohanian presented a TED Talk at TED India entitled "How to make a splash in social media"[16] about the Mister Splashy Pants saga. His conclusion was, that on the Web, "You lose control over your message, − and that's OK."
  • Mister Splashy Pants features in a novel by Jenni Barrett entitled "Look into the Eye." The author was the top peer-to-peer fundraiser for the Greenpeace Great Whale Trail campaign, and so got to name one of the other Humpbacks in the study. She chose SIDD, an acronym of the names of three Irish crewmembers and the blogger on board the Greenpeace ship Esperanza. [17]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Timothy Marshall (29 November 2007). "Whale name makes a big splash". Archived from the original on 1 December 2007. Retrieved 10 December 2007.
  2. ^ Cory Doctorow (26 November 2007). "Mr Splashy Pants in the lead for Greenpeace whale-naming competition". Archived from the original on 27 December 2007. Retrieved 23 December 2007.
  3. ^ Kristen Nicole (12 December 2007). "Mr. Splashy Pants and the Tale of a Hijacked PR Campaign". Archived from the original on 17 January 2008. Retrieved 10 December 2007.
  4. ^ TEDIndia. "Alexis Ohanian: How to make a splash in social media". Archived from the original on 14 November 2012. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  5. ^ "Mister Splashy Pants Fan". 27 November 2007. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  6. ^ b3ta.com (26 November 2007). "Greenpeace want to name a whale". Archived from the original on 30 December 2007. Retrieved 23 December 2007.
  7. ^ Moneyries (27 November 2007). "Mister Splashy Pants - Part 2". Archived from the original on 8 July 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2007.
  8. ^ Bonnie Alter (5 December 2007). "Name That Whale. Quickly!". Archived from the original on 22 December 2007. Retrieved 23 December 2007.
  9. ^ AbiSylvester (5 December 2007). "'Mister Splashy Pants' emerges as clear favourite in Greenpeace whale-naming competition". Archived from the original on 1 December 2007. Retrieved 23 December 2007.
  10. ^ Brian Fitzgerald (3 December 2007). "What nearly killed Mister Splashy Pants". Retrieved 3 December 2007.
  11. ^ "Mister Splashy Pants the whale - you named him, now save him". 10 December 2007. Archived from the original on 11 December 2007. Retrieved 10 December 2007.
  12. ^ Brianfit (14 December 2007). "Mister Splashy Pants. Precisely who is responsible for this nonsense?". Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2007.
  13. ^ Greenpeace.org: Humpbacks to be spared the harpoon -- for now Archived 12 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ Russel Davies (28 November 2008). "Media Perspective: Make sure you know your audience - and what you stand for". Archived from the original on 15 December 2008. Retrieved 28 November 2008.
  15. ^ treehugger.com (14 December 2007). "Mister Splashy Pants for President". Archived from the original on 26 December 2007. Retrieved 27 December 2007.
  16. ^ "Alexis Ohanian: How to make a splash in social media". Archived from the original on 21 February 2014.
  17. ^ "Jenni Barrett:For the whales". Archived from the original on 24 December 2013.

External links[edit]