The brand desired by few

Auckland City has a new slogan apparently – The City Desired by Many.

That sounds awful to me, and it seems to a lot of others. The price tag is awful too.

NZ Herald: Auckland’s new $500,000 slogan not so desired

Auckland council bureaucrats have spent $500,000 on a new city slogan…

The new brand is the work of the council’s promotion arm, Ateed.

…was worked on by 115 council staff over two years.

That’s almost 6 staff members per letter of the slogan – but that’s just the short version, there is more to it:

Its full title is Tamaki Makaurau, Auckland, The Place Desired by Many. Folklore has it that the people of Ngati Whatua o Orakei know Tamaki Makaurau as “Tamaki the place desired by many”.

Explaining is losing when it comes to slogans. That sort of thing is ok somewhere on Wikipedia, but it’s not exactly catchy.

There has been a somewhat dissatisfied reaction to this waste of time and money is

…which has already been condemned as “outrageous” by some councillors and does not have the support of new mayor Phil Goff.

Mayor Phil Goff has received an initial high-level briefing on aspects of Ateed’s Global Auckland rebranding project.

A spokeswoman said the rebranding or marketing of Auckland was not a project the mayor was interested in championing.

I’m not surprised.

Goff has promised a crackdown on council waste, greater scrutiny of council-controlled organisations (CCOs) such as Ateed and phasing out former mayor Len Brown’s slogan The World’s Most Liveable City.

I’m not surprised “the world’s most livable city” is being ditched, but switching to the most laughable slogan is not a joke.

Dick Quax said he was dumbfounded.

Councillor Desley Simpson, deputy chair of the finance committee, said the project was another example of where the council has to tighten the decision-making of CCOs, “when you can see a mile off it is not a priority for ratepayers”.

Said councillor Fletcher: “It is arrogance in the extreme. It is disrespectful to the ratepayer and a complete waste of money.”

Has the ‘brand’ has been chosen without the councillors input or approval?

Ateed accounts show $517,000 had been spent on Global Auckland to the end of June this year.

Documents leaked to the Herald show work on the brand project has included focus groups, interviews, surveys and social media. Advertising agency Colenso BBDO and brand gurus DNA were used. A total of 115 council and Ateed staff attended workshops.

Does the cost include internal staff costs or just external costs?

In a statement, Ateed boss Brett O’Riley confirmed that the literal meaning of Tamaki Makaurau, “the place desired by many”, had come through as a strong theme from the Global Auckland project but no final decision had been made on the proposition.

Decisions about how the research and narrative will be used will be made in consultation with the council and private sector, O’Riley said.

So they spent two years and half a million – so far – and don’t know what they are going to do with it?

No date has been set to reveal the brand.

It looks a bit revealed now. It looks like someone has blown the whistle on it. That may save more money being spent on it.

No wonder the Auckland City Council wants Government money for less important things like transport and housing.

This is the sort of ‘politically correct’ elitist committee driven bland waste of money that people in other parts of the world are fed up with and revolting about, but council staff are safe from being dumped by voters.