Unfortunate Place-Names

What We Did

Our main brief was to generate buzz, awareness and traffic for the U.S. launch of findmypast.com… but also, if possible, findmypast.co.uk.

Background: When researching their ancestors, people often discover that one or more of them hailed from somewhere with an improbable, unfortunate or downright embarrassing place-name.

We polled findmypast users to find the “most embarrasing or unfortunate place-name” from which it was possible to hail.

The answer in the U.S. was Toad Suck (Arkansas); in the UK, Shitterton (Devon).

“Thanks for a great job. The U.S. campaign got fantastic pick-up. The place-names story really went viral. Our traffic grew nearly 600%. ”

– Carolynne Bull-Edwards, Head of PR, Brightsolid (findmypast.com)


Huge coverage – not just in both the U.S. and the UK but also globally, as the story went viral. Traffic to the U.S. site rose nearly 600%.

Key Points

  • Huge coverage in key markets
  • Story goes viral
  • Thousands of Google results
  • U.S. traffic rises nearly 600%
  • Delighted client


Some highlights of the coverage include:

“Shitterton comes on top of list of Britain’s worst place names, including Pratts Bottom, Crapstone and Slag Lane… ” – Daily Mail
  • Time/Time.com
  • AFP/Agence France Presse
  • Yahoo News (“most shared” story)
  • The Huffington Post; New York Daily News; Atlanta
  • Journal Constitution
  • Wikipedia
  • Daily Mail; Sky News; Sydney Morning Herald, Die Welt
And for the UK story:
  • The Press Association; UPI
  • The Times
  • The Sun, The Mirror, The Daily Star
  • The Daily Mail, The Daily Express
  • Metro, The Evening Standard, The Scotsman
  • The BBC; MSN

And hundreds more across the world.