Do you know what is really cool? Science. And do you know what else are pretty cool? Big ships.
So when we were asked by The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to create a campaign that would promote the launch of their new 200 million pound polar research ship, and to help the public understand the importance of natural science to our species, we got pretty excited.
The new polar research ship will be 129 metres long, weigh 15,000 tonnes and carry nine double-decker busloads of scientific equipment.
She’ll smash through ice up to a metre thick and stay at sea for up to two months at a time, carrying up to 60 scientists and 30 crew on board. It’s pretty awesome!
The ship, due to launch in 2019, will be the UK’s largest and most advanced research ship yet.
Her state-of-the-art capabilities will allow scientists to carry out research safely even through the harsh winter months. She will have a helideck and a hangar on board, taking scientists into new polar territory.
So, how do we get the whole nation excited about the launch of the polar ship?
We invite the public to name her.
At 8:30am yesterday, we launched the #NameOurShip campaign, which invited the public to submit their name ideas and to tell us how it celebrates mankind’s desire to explore the unknown and push the boundaries of science.
By having a microsite at the heart of the campaign, we were able to bring all of the entries together into one place, allowing people to explore the ideas in a visual and engaging way.
People are able to vote on their favourite submissions, which creates a competitive edge and encourages sharing.
Using our Social Suitcase platform, we were able to give NERC complete control over moderating entries before they appeared on the website. Moderating submissions ensures all names are suitable and maintain the integrity of the campaign and the NERC brand.
Instead of using paid advertising or direct marketing to generate awareness, we wanted to create meaningful conversations and use the power of social media to engage the public.
So after exactly 24 hours since we launched the campaign, how are the results looking?
We also got media coverage on BBC Online, Sky News breakfast, ITV and BBC North West evening news.
And here is some of the chatter from Twitter:
We're investing £200m in a state-of-the-art polar research vessel. Help to #NameOurShip at https://t.co/G3lq0oKLqD pic.twitter.com/n7XxvSKqvf— Jo Johnson (@JoJohnsonMP) March 17, 2016
UK's new Antarctic survey vessel to be built here @CammellLaird . You could name it #NameOurShip @BBCNWT pic.twitter.com/c9a7cHFuk1— Mark Edwardson (@markedtv) March 17, 2016
This is why #nameourship https://t.co/OO3Mdg5Azf should be called RRS Belafonte #teamzissou: pic.twitter.com/5OFP2wjm4O— Dallas Campbell (@dallascampbell) February 29, 2016
*fingers crossed for Mollstrade* #NameOurShip pic.twitter.com/wM2aYMCy8r— BBC Three (@bbcthree) March 17, 2016
I really like this #NameOurShip site by @NERCscience https://t.co/zYjcBV2kwO Please not a dead white guy :-) pic.twitter.com/ziSSPY4dtA— Mark Brandon (@icey_mark) February 26, 2016
New Antarctic survey vessell being built at @CammellLaird They're looking for a name. Over to you #NameOurShip pic.twitter.com/ZH2GtXROiV— North West Tonight (@BBCNWT) March 17, 2016
RRS Henry Worsley would make a great name for the new polar research vessel #NameOurShip https://t.co/KUxuSgdV7P— James Borrell (@James_Borrell) March 17, 2016
Wow, #DavidAttenborough already has 149 votes! #NameOurShip https://t.co/Vv5Or05r9l @BBC @BBCEarth pic.twitter.com/RX6ZuEHEyM— NERC (@NERCscience) March 17, 2016
Got a name for @NERCscience #polar vessel?? Check out #NameOurShip campaign! It's trending! https://t.co/99VCGao6D4 pic.twitter.com/RIyubtoGwz— RCUK USA (@RCUKUSA) March 17, 2016
Our Year 2 students are thinking of names for the new polar ship and discussing natural science #NameOurShip https://t.co/dcDAHtYB3C— Cwm Derwen (@cwmderwen) March 3, 2016
@EU_MARE #nameourship Not a Brit, but Krystyna Choknowska was 1st woman to circumnavigate world, European, known as First Lady of the Oceans— Mercedes Rosello (@MercedesRosello) March 7, 2016
And here are the BBC North West trying to pronounce the campaign website address, which amused me.
They got there in the end! #NameOurShip 🚢 pic.twitter.com/6Fjbpt0KCR— Dan Sargent (@DanMSargent) March 17, 2016
Not bad for the first 24 hours! There are just 29 more days to go before the end of the #NameOurShip campaign and when NERC will decide on the name for their 200 million pound vessel.