Collaboration for Dunedin’s promotional strategy

### ODT Online Mon, 11 Jan 2010
Dunedin looks for new slogan
“I am Dunedin” is to be dropped as Dunedin’s slogan and a nationwide search is now on for a new slogan and promotional strategy. Dunedin City Council city marketing team leader Jennifer Hooker said the current slogan dated back to 2001 and although it had “aged gracefully” it was time for a revamp.
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11.1.10 Tweet @five15design:
#NewDunedinSlogan At least it will be dry in the Stadium

Post by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Inspiration, Name

24 responses to “Collaboration for Dunedin’s promotional strategy

  1. Caz

    “Dunedin was a great city until Chin and Farry stuffed it up”

  2. Elizabeth

    Treating as honest opinion.

  3. Anonymous

    You Piss In My Pocket, I’ll Piss In Yours?

  4. Phil

    The “I am” brand is just as confusing to most Dunedin people as it is to everyone outside of Dunedin. Very few people even know who Colin McCahon was, let alone any connection he may have had with Dunedin. A case of trying to be a little too clever with an “inside joke”. The same probably applies to the “It’s All Right Here” which didn’t take long to be manipulated by pranksters. Maybe taking an extra 5 minutes to think about it first might have helped. Not that Dunedin is alone in these things. After the recent “All White” cricket marketing disaster, someone with a few clues really needs to grab hold of this. Remember “Nipon Down Under” classic cock up? And no, that’s not a typo.

    Wellington has managed to keep it’s brand name for 20 years. Because it means something to the viewer. Maybe simple is better.

  5. It’s got a name:


    Always has been, always will be, end of story.

    But hey! when you haven’t got a proper job, but authority to spend many thousands of dollars why not go for it. After all, this is what bureaucracy is all about.

    • Elizabeth

      Didn’t cost any of us a dime to brainstorm collaboratively in the Twittersphere last night. #continuing

      DCC departments: suggest you use Twitter many ways as you can.

      Here’s the best straight up GUIDE to Twitter:

      Twitter is easy.
      Fun for education, information and ANYTHING YOU WANT TO MAKE IT.
      It’s also where sharp writers roam in 140 characters and smile a lot.

  6. Phil

    I’m with you on that one, Calvin. I’m not sure where the obsession with branding everything comes from. I’d like to see some evidence of economic benefit directly resulting from place name branding. Do Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Bangkok, London, or Rome, have brand names? I wouldn’t have a clue if any of them do, but I would suspect so. And yet I managed to decide to visit each of those cities for a holiday without knowing any of their catchy titles.

    Sounds a little bit like the sort of thing one does when one has run out of other things to do.

  7. Richard

    Happy New Year!

    I don’t know who ‘decided’ to refer to the exercise as being in search of a slogan. It isn’t as anyone with any marketing nous would know, but a positioning statement for ‘the brand’ which is …. believe it or not, DUNEDIN. (Just as Sydney, Melbourne, Bangkok etc are Phil).

    In short, what is being sought is something that succinctly encapsulates “the city”.

    Our first positioning statement of any merit was “Dunedin, it’s ALL right here”.

    What that set out to do supported with its great photographic images and copy, was that you could find many, many things in one place (physical, cultural, educational, heritage, etc etc), that no other city in the world of our size could match.

    And it worked – brilliantly! From being a scratch on the map for tourism, we leapt to the top of second tier destinations in under three years, now we are in the top eight in NZ.

    And Phil, despite what you say, people ‘bought into it’ although the alliteration by many to ‘alright’ did not help!

    Unfortunately insufficient funding to maintain the campaigns that evolved ‘lost the message’ and later tampering ‘sunk it’. Wellington made certain that did not happen with “Absolutely, Positively” (which came from the same stable as “ALL Right”) and it has served that city and region well for over a quarter of a century now.

    Eventually “I AM Dunedin” evolved. It was a different positioning statement. Unlike “It’s ALL, right here”, it focussed on economic factors, e.g. jobs, education etc and while it has been relatively successful it did not ‘umbrella cover’ everything in Dunedin e.g. as a place to visit.

    Finding the right positioning statement is a challenge. The approach being taken this time round and involving widespread input will, hopefully, result in something that will really say what Dunedin is all about in the 21st century!

  8. Richard


    The “I AM” owed nothing to McCahon.

    • Elizabeth

      A bit embarrassing that the ‘makers’ (plural) of “I AM” weren’t aware of our cultural roots, including McCahon…deathly even.

  9. James

    Let’s not forget “The Spirit of Dunedin” from the late 90s. Oh wait, that was the one that time forgot.

    I’m not against slogans per se, but I’m not sure that towns and cities often come up with very good ones. But then cities are much more diverse than many other entities seeking to brand themselves.

    • Elizabeth

      James – exactly, it’s meeting the diversity that counts and I’m wondering if Dunedin should brand in a way that does NOT try to adopt a ‘catch-all’, ever.

      I’m picking it’s far better to identify the city/area strengths and regional connections and work with those via businesses, organisations and entities being encouraged to do their own creative advocacy in the longer term. Letting participants seed the way through quality management and entrepreneurial behaviour.

      Involve regular healthy competition for best business/company/organisation/entity campaign branding and promotion for city/regional growth, service and awareness raising. Not the same as annual business awards; let the emphasis be on measurably innovative, solid, successful city/regional promotion.

      About ‘Dunedin’ standing as a small city powerhouse – maybe our ‘behind the scenes’ and ‘upfront’ diversity has to be a bit (strange irony) uncoordinated… We seem to earn quite a bit from people coming here knowing little and never leaving.

      Like I’ve said before, why does Weta Workshop employ a lot of ‘southern’ people~!!!! We come back to what this place gives our psychy and determination.

      {did I say distance looks our way – Nooooo, not as a slogan}

  10. Richard

    You got that in “one James” but it was “mid” not “late 90s”. And simply a ‘tack-on’…… “Dunedin. It’s ALL right here, the spirit of Dunedin”. Awful.

  11. Phil

    Sorry, but I’m not going to buy into the idea that the “I Am” decision wasn’t influenced by the local Colin McCahon history. Of all the phrases in the world to pick? It’s about as much of a coincidence as saying that the name “Wall Street” wasn’t influenced by its more famous namesake. Yeah, I know it has a wall. But really? Dave was well known for the theatrics.

    Absolutely Positively has worked so well in its simplicity because it’s something that both locals and visitors alike can relate directly to. Without knowing anything about Wellington. Two words that signify an inviting “feel good” emotion. With no thinking, explanation, or interpretation required. And I think that’s where we’ve come unstuck. Each slogan has required an accompanying instruction manual. Rather defeats the purpose.

    Reckon we could nick it when they’re done with it?

  12. Phil

    Curiosity got the better of me and I just had to find out the brand slogans of some of the cities I mentioned earlier:

    London: “Totally London” (As opposed to ?)

    Sydney: “City of Celebrations”

    Brisbane: “New World City” (Good job that Countdown never won the naming rights)

    Bangkok: “City of Smiles” (S: Safety, M: Money value, I: International standards, L: Love and Warmth, E: Eternity)

  13. Richard

    You are correct about the Canadian influence but it came in the person of Jennifer Hooker who joined the DCC on her return to Dunedin after many years away.

    And Phil, because of that long absence she was – as I recall – completely unaware of the McCahon connection until some days after “I AM” was launched, someone brought it up, I think in the ODT. As you said in your earlier post: “Very few people even know who Colin McCahon was, let alone any connection he may have had with Dunedin.” I have to admit, I was not one of “the few” either, in fact, I do not warm to his work at all!

  14. Richard

    I am not so certain Phil that “Bangkok, City of Smiles” is an official brand positioning statement for Bangkok. It is also more generally used in tourism material pomoting Thailand as “The LAND of Smiles”.

    Smiling or not, I could think of a whole lot of statements to describe Bangkok!

    Whatever the name is, the brand in foreign languages anyway – as using its ancient (and proper) Thai name of “Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit” – is hardly practical!

    I believe that Guinness record it as the longest place name in the world!

    Thank goodness, we only have Dunedin, so named I am told, after the ancient castle of the Roman goddess of Edin (in Doric I think Dun – edin) which stood in the area now occupied by Edinburgh.

  15. James

    The Spirit of Dunedin was definitely late 90s. I was working for the DCC at the time, and went to the launch for staff in the town hall.

    Thanks for looking up the other cities slogans Phil. Not exactly overwelming are they?

  16. Phil

    You are right there, Richard. Those big name towns haven’t exactly set the bar very high.

  17. Richard

    James: I guess it’s whether 1998 is mid-or-late 1990s. The ODT say this morning it’s 1998. What I do know is that it was launched when I was “away” from Council so it must have been conceived (if not launched) in 1997. I could add more because I was ‘invited’ in to try and help save something from the failure … but won’t because it isn’t important.


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