Batman’s trusted Butler, Alfred, once told him that “some men just want to watch the world burn.” In the digital age, while some use this technology for good purposes, others are able to inflict carnage from the comfort of their computer screens. This a lesson that countless companies, marketing agencies, and even countries learned the hard way by taking polls on the Internet. Over the Internet’s storied 25-year history, there has been several a survey hijacked by the web in truly incredible ways. You could almost say that poll trolling has become as much of a time-honored internet tradition as celebrity hacking at this point.
If the marketing geniuses behind the following 21 online poll fails actually honored their end of the deal, Justin Bieber would be stuck in North Korea, there would be a Canadian girl named “Cthulhu All-Spark,” and a $287-million-dollar polar research ship would be named “Boaty McBoatface.” If Ghandi were still alive today, he’d probably look at the results of all of these hijacked internet polls and say, “Be the change internet trolls want to see in the world.”
A Sinking Ship
Boaty McBoatface is the mother of all Internet poll riggings. A British government agency decided it would be a good idea to let the Internet suggest a name for a 287-million-dollar polar research ship, and the result is the greatest boat name in history.
Turning A Deaf Ear
Papa John’s and Chegg thought it would be a great idea to create an online contest where Taylor Swift would perform a free concert at the school that received the most votes on Facebook. 4 Chan and Reddit jumped at this once in a lifetime and crowned the Horace Mann School for the Deaf as the winner.
Whatever Floats Your Crapsicle
B.C. Ferries’ Internet contest quickly got sunk by trolls back in 2015 with a poll to name their new ferries. Even though the contest offered a $500 winner, “The Floating Crapsicle” was the undisputed winner.
Just Dew It
In 2012, Mountain Dew created an online poll to help them name their new green, apple-flavored drink. The tragic poll called “Dub the Dew” was quickly shut down once they realized “Gushin’ Granny” was competing with “Hitler Did Nothing Wrong” for the top spot.
The Most Beautiful Drunken Dwaf In The World
Canadian Couple Sorry For Letting The Internet Name Their Baby
A Canadian couple decided to crowdsource the name of their unborn daughter, and all things considered, the Internet was pretty civil about it. After 150,000 votes were tallied, the clear-cut winner was “Cthulhu All-Spark.” The couple decided to go with boring, old “Amelia Savannah Joy” instead.
Fred Durst Gets Trashed In Texas
Back in 2011, the city of Austin, Texas decided the Austin’s Solid Waste Services Department needed a new name, and they got a “limp” one. The online poll was a disaster for the ages as “The Fred Durst Society of the Humanities and Arts” was the runaway winner proving there is justice in the world.
Rick Astley Wins “Best Musical Act Ever”
Rick Astley and his 1987 symphonic masterpiece, “Never Gonna Give You Up” officially became the “Best Musical Act Ever” with over 100 million online votes for the 2008 MTV Europe Music Awards. Astley defeated the Beatles and U2 to earn this dubious distinction.
Too Poole For School
Time’s “Most Influential Person of 2009” poll was hijacked by the hijacking king himself, 4Chan founder, Christopher Poole. Poole easily defeated President Obama, Vladimir Putin, and Oprah Winfrey with an average influence rating of 90 out of a possible 100
New Zealand Let’s The Internet Redesign Their Flag
New Zealand naively decided to let the Internet redesign their nation’s flag and the internet did not disappoint. Sadly, for the rest of the world, poor “Te Pepe” did not make the final cut.
Victoria’s Biggest Secret
Victoria Secret’s three-day pampering giveaway contest was disrupted in 2009, when the Internet decided to boost Half-Life co-creator Gabe Newell into the top spot. The only reason Newell didn’t win was because 4Chan’s Christopher Poole had already beaten him.
Funny As Sheet
Sheets Energy Strips held a contest on Facebook that awarded the presence of Pitbull to the Walmart location with most likes. Writer David Thorpe started the poll trolling that led to the Walmart in Kodiak, Alaska, the most remote Walmart location in the world. Even though Pitbull knew he was the victim of a prank, he still honored the contest and made the trip to the Kodiak Walmart.
The Heartwarming Tale of “Mr. Splashy Pants”
Back in 2007, poor Greenpeace released an Internet poll that would decide on the name for one of the humpback whales being tracked in the South Pacific as part of their Great Whale Trail Expedition. “Mr. Splashy Pants” was the runaway winner taking 70% of the vote.
Never Say Never (To North Korea)
4Chan hijacked a 2010 online poll asking Justin Bieber fans what country should be the destination for his next tour. The contest was shut down after North Korea quickly took a commanding lead.
Meet The Mets
The New York Mets asked their fans to name their new eighth inning theme song in 2008, and they got “Rick Rolled.” The Mets honored the winner, but fans immediately regretted their prank as the song was only played once in the eighth inning before it got booed off the jumbotron.
Nancy Upton Upstages American Apparel’s “The Next Big Thing” Contest
The undisputed king of the $30 plain white t-shirt, American Apparel thought they could trick people into thinking they cared about size-12 models with their “The Next Big Thing” contest, and they got properly trolled by Nancy Upton. Nancy submitted photos of herself taking a ranch dressing and chocolate sauce bath, and easily received the most votes. American Apparel didn’t allow Nancy to win the contest because… well, because American Apparel sucks.
Live Long And Hijack
In 2013, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute launched an online contest to name Pluto’s recently discovered moons, only to have it hijacked by none other than William Shatner. Shatner campaigned to have the two moons named “Vulcan” and “Romulus.” Unfortunately for the Shat Man, “Romulus”was already in use, but “Vulcan” won the contest by a landslide.
Metalheads rocked the vote of 2012 poll launched by Norwegian Air to create their new mascot. Polling trolls voted unanimously for “Euronymous,” a musician who was notorious for church burnings in the early 1900’s.
Kraft attempted to rebrand their Australian mystery food, Vegemite in 2009 and got hijacked by an Aussie web developer who dubbed the winner “iSnack 2.0.” Kraft produced five-million jars with the iSnack 2.0 name on it before ultimately deciding to ditch the winning name.
More Bunce For The Ounce
A Facebook fan page almost made computer science geek, Roland Bunce, the winner of Next’s “Make Me a Model 2011.” After Bunch discovered he was in first, he eliminated himself for consideration citing privacy reasons.
Stephen Colbert’s Steals Hungarian Bridge
When Hungary completed its very first cable-stayed river bridge, they decided to draw national attention to it with an online poll to name it. Stephen Colbert saw an opportunity to have his own bridge, and ran with it, getting Colbert Nation to register 14-million votes for him. Sadly, Hungarian law did not allow bridges to be named after people so they named it the “Megyeri Bridge” instead. Lame!