Imagine this: A snowstorm is heading your way. The Bureau of Meteorology has stated that you have to evacuate immediately. You scream this news to your family. You tell them you have to leave quickly.
However, in your haste, you accidentally don’t call the Bureau of Meteorology by its colloquial nickname. You don’t call this service the BoM. Instead, you call this service by its new baffling rebrand name. You call it the Bureau.
Unfortunately, you calling the Bureau of Meteorology ‘the Bureau’ confuses your family. They ask you if you’re talking about the Australian Bureau of Statistics. You all die in a snowstorm.
Now, this hypothetical is obviously a cheeky jape about the fact that the Bureau of Meteorology has recently demanded that we all refer to it as the Bureau and not ‘The BoM’. Nevertheless, it also highlights how unnecessary, confusing, and absurd this name change is.
Moreover, I’m not the only person who feels this way. Both sides of the political aisle have critiqued this decision.
The Federal Environment Minister, Tanya Plibersek, has said regarding this situation, “The rebrand commenced under the previous government for reasons I don’t quite understand.”
“During this time of severe weather and flood disaster, I’m not focused on the name of the agency.”
The Shadow Environment Minister, Jonno Duniam, has also gone on the record against this idea. He’s even said that Plibersek should do something about it.
“She needs to immediately put a stop to this embarrassment on a day when all resources should be focused on the severe flooding occurring across many parts of Australia,” said Duniam.
Another person who didn’t think this rebrand was a smart move was Unmade’s Tim Burrowes. He believes that the Bureau should have just stayed as the BoM.
“Being known, warmly, as BoM is a great asset. It’s being part of the fabric of Australian culture. Brands don’t get to choose how Australians get behind them, but if they’re smart, they go with it when they do,” said Burrowes.
“McDonald’s didn’t ask to be known as Maccas, but the brand leaned into it.”
How Much Did the Bureau Pay for This Rebrand?
The agency formerly known as The BoM spent a whopping $220,296 on this rebrand. Yup, $220,296.
But where did all of this money go? Whelp, let’s break it down:
|What That Service Actually Means
|C Word Communications Agency
|Branding of product naming services
Brand implementation services
|They helped create the name and make the brand feel consistent across different mediums.
|Brand strategy services
|They helped create a visual style for the brand, as well as the logo.
|Money was spent to create both community and media hype around this specific rebrand.
These numbers were made available because of an investigation by Plibersek and her team.
“I have asked for the information about the full cost of the whole rebrand project, which was undertaken under the previous government,” said Plibersek.
“I’ve released that publicly. Now it’s time to let the Bureau of Meteorology get on with what it does best: Predicting the weather to help keep Australians safe.”
However, despite saying the fact that it’s time to move on, Plibersek hasn’t done so. On October 21, she said that she would investigate the origins of this organisational rebrand.
“I don’t understand why [that money] was spent. I think people make their own minds up whether they’re going to call it the BoM or the Bureau,” she said.
The Twitter Hijinks
Unfortunately for the government service, this situation doesn’t end here.
On October 18, multiple Twitter usernames the BoM was hoping to use — such as @TheBureau_NSW and @TheBureau_AU — were yoinked by everyday people just after the Bureau name announcement.
That’s right, this government group didn’t reserve these usernames before publishing their rebranding statement online and the intent to use those accounts.
One user who nabbed the NSW account name sent the below message to the BoM. His account under that handle was later closed by Twitter and is currently suspended.
Attention Bureau of Meteorology
I’ll give your Twitter handle back if you meet 3 simple demands. I want:
1) a weather balloon (will settle for a regular balloon)
2) a signed photo of Sunrise weatherman Sam Mac
3) the power to manipulate the weather (like Halle Berry in x-men) https://t.co/x5EysTUxLh
— Keelan (@I_am_da_BOM) October 18, 2022
A Bureau spokesperson said that the organisation was “working closely with Twitter to rectify this, in the meantime, all existing BOM Twitter handles remain active.”
The BOM’s Buckwild Backflip
In the midst of all of this chaos, the Bureau of Meteorology has tried to reverse course. At the start of this snafu, they asked not to be referred to as the BoM. But now, they are claiming that everything and anything is chill.
“The community is welcome to refer to the Bureau in any way they wish, including referring to us as the BoM,” they said in a statement issued on October 20.
“It is up to individual media outlets to determine their style guidelines.”
Moreover, this organisation has claimed that its rebrand was not a rebrand. It was instead a “brand refresh.” It’s worth noting that they did not elaborate on what differentiates a rebrand from a refresh. But that’s maybe because the “BoM” was just playing etymological Twister.