How the Cincinnati Zoo named its new hippo using Jotform

Hippopotamuses may eat a steady diet of watermelon and lettuce, but what they really crave is fame and admiration. Everyone knows that.

You might have heard of Fiona, the Taylor Swift of hippos, who set the internet on fire when the Cincinnati Zoo introduced her to the world in 2017. There are children’s books written about Fiona, countless T-shirts and stuffed animals bear her likeness, and she’s been featured everywhere from The New York Times to National Geographic. One 52-second YouTube video of her receiving a routine dental check has 74 million views alone.

So when the zoo found out that Fiona was going to have a new baby brother this past August, they braced themselves; hippos are a big deal at the Cincinnati Zoo.

And with the world watching, they had to get her little brother’s name just right. 

Using Jotform to collect names

Kim Denzler is the digital solutions manager at the Cincinnati Zoo, and she was on the team tasked with naming Fiona’s baby brother.

“When we had Fiona, we became worldwide,” Denzer said. “We knew we wanted the input of the world [in naming the new hippo].”

The zoo, which has been a Jotform user since 2010, first deployed a name suggestion form on their website for hippo fans all over the globe to submit their ideas. In just two days, 90,000 submissions from fans in all 50 states and more than 60 countries came pouring in.

Once they collected all of those submissions, they exported the data, filtered out duplicates, and gave a clean list to the zookeepers so they could weigh in on their favorite name suggestions. Two names became quick favorites: Fritz and Ferguson.

That’s when the zoo turned to Jotform once again, to let the public choose between the two name options. A heated debate ensued. Some fans took to Twitter saying Ferguson should be the choice since it could be shortened to Fergie — also a cute name. An American Idol finalist named Fritz Hager publicly campaigned for the public to choose Fritz. The stakes were high, and everyone took a side. 

Try a Jotform voting form template

When it was all said and done, 200,000 votes were cast, and 56 percent of them selected Fritz.  The zoo made the official announcement and introduced Fritz on The TODAY Show.

Two forms and 300,000 form submissions later, baby Fritz was ready to take on the world.

“Jotform’s helped our whole zoo become more efficient,” Denzer said. “It has made it easy for Fiona fans around the world to name her little brother.”
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This article is originally published on Dec 13, 2022, and updated on Jan 24, 2023.
AUTHOR
Chad is VP of Marketing and Communications at Jotform. He’s also a frequent contributor to various tech and business publications, and an absolute wizard with a Vitamix. He holds a master’s degree in communication and resides with his wife and cats in Oakland, California. You can reach Chad through his contact form.

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