Branding companies across the UK reacted with a mixture of scorn and disbelief to the recent launch of ‘British storm names’ by the British public, a project undertaken in association with the Met Office.
After a months-long project awarded exclusively to the British public, the names chosen to brand future British storms and hurricanes were: Abigail, Barney, Clodagh, Desmond, Eva, Frank, Gertrude, Henry, Imogen, Jake, Katie, Lawrence, Mary, Nigel, Orla, Phil, Rhonda, Steve, Tegan, Vernon and Wendy.
“What an amazing waste of time” commented one branding insider.
“Unbelievable – my kid could have thought of these” said another.
More branding experts took to Twitter to slam the campaign. Atticus from Shoreditch tweeted: “Whoever thought of Jake needs to take a look at themselves. These people call themselves the ‘Great’ British Public?”
Leonora, an ideation consultant from Clerkenwell, posted: “This campaign blows harder than Hurricane Tegan.”
Branding experts were quick to point out similarities to a previous names-based campaign for US storms. “The US smashed it out of the park with Katrina – and now suddenly we’re going with Katie. Coincidence?” said one.
The British public has thus far refused to comment. It is believed they won the project in an unpaid pitch and took on the work pro bono.
One insider told us off the record: “In the grand scheme of things, this reaction doesn’t really bother us. If it’s getting a reaction from branding experts, that can only be a good thing.”
Rocked by the backlash, the Met Office is rumoured to be considering dropping the new names and appointing an entirely different public – possibly the French.
NB: This is my audition for The Onion, and is therapeutic to write given the public backlash that comes with any branding launch these days.