They had to know this was a possibility, but perhaps they thought it wouldn't be the whole story.
When BC Ferries launched its #NameAFerry contest last week, they tied a $500 cash prize to the winner, providing several guidelines and an online submission form for entrants. But of course, that let the hounds of Twitter have at their brand.
Names like Spirit of the WalletSucker, Queen of No Other Choice, The Christy Clark Ark, and the Coastal Cafeteria are some of the public's favourites. One Twitter user, @Howard_Blair, went rapid fire with Spirit of No Accountability, Coastal Isolation, and Queen of What the Hell Raise the Fares – all three squeezed into one 140-character post.
These all flowed in after a message from BC Ferries' CEO Mike Corrigan, who said the contest was a chance to "leave a lasting legacy".
"I'm hoping that hundreds, if not thousands, of names will be entered for a chance to win," he said in a company press release. (Mission accomplished.)
"We think a ferry's name is important because it is a reflection of who we are as a province and the culture we all share. Opening the naming of our ferries to the public and to our employees is an opportunity to engage everyone in this historic event."
Corrigan also asked submitters to "think creatively" about their pitches, which they have.
The contest runs until June 9, 2015, and the first winning name is planned to be introduced in August, 2016, replacing the Queen of Burnaby. The second will arrive in October of that year, replacing the Queen of Nanaimo.
BC Ferries has responded to the Twitter hate, saying that most of their submissions received – 1,400 so far – were serious, and that they have no plans to nix the campaign.
"People have fun on social media," said Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall. "We've seen the naming suggestions on social media. We think some of them are quite funny."