Lessons from a baws up

Our kids were chortling over breakfast again this morning. There’s a character on Weetos called Big Baws (‘Tall as a mountain, strong as a bear’). Unfortunately, this American slang for ‘big boss’ in Scotland means large testicles, which I believe came as a bit of a kick in the baws at Weetabix HQ.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. And not every creative department has its resident Weegie. Still, Big Baws is low on the Richter scale of marketing cock-ups. Didn’t General Motors try out the Nova (= no-go) in Spain? Hence the Corsa. Or is that just an apocryphal tale?

In my experience it’s a small world and – usually – somebody has already had your big idea. I methodically Google brainwaves before I let them anywhere near a presentation.

This is a great facility. Recently a newish committee I serve on was trying to name itself. We’d just about settled on a favourite when I felt my iPhone burning a hole in my pocket. Thankfully I checked the proposed epithet, to discover an almost identical organization with an identical name. Red faces avoided.

But you never know. Chris Bestley of IPM training fame tells a great story about how his agency once swithered over whether to present ‘Winalot of Cash’ to the eponymous dogfood brand. ‘They’ll have heard it before, a dozen times.’  They hadn’t! The team got the project.