AN unusual alliance, 4,500 kilometres apart, has been formed by two aquatic visitor attractions, thanks to a case of mistaken identity on the social networking site, Facebook.
A post about an opportunity to win a family pass to St Andrews Aquarium – in Scotland – sparked a flurry of unexpected activity on the local tourist attraction’s Facebook page with the company clocking up a 40 per cent rise in followers and hundreds of shares in just over 24 hours.
Immediately aware that something ‘fishy’ was going on, St Andrews Aquarium started to look into where all these new followers were coming from, only to find out that the one thing they all had in common was their location: New Brunswick in Canada!
A quick Google search later and it was clear that their new-found fans were looking for the Fundy Discovery Aquarium, in St Andrews, New Brunswick.
Picking up the phone to their Canadian doppelganger, Tricia Fox, marketing manager of St Andrews Aquarium, commented: “We thought we’d give Fundy Discovery Aquarium a call to let them know there had been a mix up and offer to send our new followers in their direction. It’s not often you get a call from the other side of the globe to admit there seems to be a case of mistaken identity but Ashley Simpson, who answered the call, had already seen the posts going viral on a lot of her friends’ Facebook pages, and was already alert to what was happening.”
When the mistake was pointed out online, the Canadians took it all in good humour with Canadian, Lisa Steeves, commenting that she’d “Love a family pass, but can you pay the airfare too?” and Cynthia Taylor stating that while she was in Canada, she will “happily take the pass as an excuse to visit a friend in Scotland just over an hour away from this Aquarium”.
The two aquariums have now agreed to an unusual joint marketing initiative that spans the Atlantic Ocean, to promote each other’s facilities to their respective followers and to award each other the honour of the first-ever twinned aquariums in the world.
John Mace, general manager of St Andrews Aquarium in Scotland said: “This seemed like the perfect opportunity to twin up with another aquarium – and why not one also based in St Andrews, on the East Coast, albeit at the other side of the world. We have a lot in common including a lobster called Lily, two harbour seals and even the more unusual wolffish.”
Jim Cornall, manager of the Canadian facility, ironically from the UK originally, was aware of the confusion between the two venues long before the Facebook incident.
“We’d sometimes get people coming in for the 3pm seal feeding, insisting they’d seen it on our website,” he laughs.
“I knew there was a facility in the Scottish St. Andrews, so it didn’t take too long to confirm the confusion, although some people weren’t too amused. And then we had a flurry of people coming in to see the new meerkats, some from quite a distance. As we only have species from the Bay of Fundy in the aquarium, meerkats would be a bit of a stretch.
“But we’re happy that both facilities are benefitting from the Facebook publicity, and look forward to other ways we can collaborate in the future.”
For more information on St Andrews Aquarium in Scotland please visit www.standrewsaquarium.co.uk and for Fundy Discover Aquarium in St Andrews, Canada please visit http://www.huntsmanmarine.ca/aquarium/