Yesterday I posted about the minor controversy surrounding the HMS Bounty’s recent tour of the UK. Last night I received the below Google Alert Black Pearl Sails into Plymouth. Interestingly, the URL for this alert is the Disney’s Official Pirates of the Caribbean website.
Clicking on the link in the Google Alert brings you to this page on the Pirates of the Caribbean website where there is a news section which displayed the same headline.
Following that link brings you to the website of The Herald, The Voice of Plymouth. Here’s a screen shot, too.
What’s interesting in this link chain is Disney’s position right smack dab in the middle. From reading through the other “News” on the Official Pirates of the Caribbean website, it seems safe to assume that a human may actually enters these items. Most of the others are promoting the movie or ancillary products and from that perspective the Black Pearl Sails into Plymouth is unique.
There are some valuable lessons here about managing your brand. From working a bit with Disney in the past, I found it curious that the Black Pearl Sails into Plymouth would make it onto their website; their focus is selling all thing Disney. They certainly wouldn’t want to be associated with tall ships tour that was marketing itself inaccurately. POC fans will figure it out and they did. Then there is European Maritime Events, the company involved in organizing the Bounty’s UK tour. Prior to arriving in Torquay, tour manager Wilf Lower sent a press release claiming: “The ship features in Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3 as Black Pearl.” As reported in The Daily Mail:
Mr. Lower said “As far as I know it was one of three ships used in filming for episodes two and three. The short answer is yes, she does appear at some stage. It’s an amalgamation.
“My understanding is that she did appear in the film as the Pearl. You’d have to watch pretty hard in the background to work out which bit is what.”
But speaking from New York, the executive director of HMS Bounty’s Organisation, Margaret Ramsey, said the whole claim was false.
She said: “We try to squash it whenever it comes up – she’s totally not the Black Pearl. She was the Edinburgh Trader in two episodes and we were thrilled with that.
“I would be really disappointed if I went to see her and then realised she wasn’t the Black Pearl. I can only ask that people accept an apology.”
Lesson 2: choose your partners carefully. Doing a Google search of tall ship Bounty brings up a number of negative headlines.
While the HMS Bounty organization has apologized to visitors who might have come to their vessel under false pretenses, they have been pretty clear that this was not of their doing. I’ve worked with them over the years and have no reason to doubt their claims. Hopefully most of the visitors to the Bounty will appreciate her for her own story. Of course, there will be a number who are disappointed that they are not stepping on the same deck as Captain Jack Sparrow but at least they have the chance to learn about some real maritime history.
One last thing. Several news articles stated that the Bounty voyage is helping to raise funds for the Cutty Sark which was significantly damages by fire back in May. I may have missed something but I looked through both organization’s websites as well as searched on Google and have not been able to turn anything up. If this is fundraising partnership is real, wouldn’t Bounty and Cutty Sark want to promote the heck out of it? It would seem to be a win/win/win for both organizations and maritime heritage in general.
It’s all very curious and entirely unnecessary for a grand ship like Bounty.