Phil Goff keen to drop ex-mayor's slogan in favour of a brand-new vision for Auckland

By Sarah Harris, Catherine Gaffaney

Some feel the any new brand for the city should consider its  diversity of experiences. Photo / Dean Purcell
Some feel the any new brand for the city should consider its diversity of experiences. Photo / Dean Purcell

We've been the City of Sails, the Big Little City and more recently the World's Most Liveable City.

Should we leave it at that or is it fourth time lucky?

New Auckland mayor Phil Goff indicated that ex-mayor Len Brown's slogan "the World's Most Liveable City" doesn't quite fit the city.

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"People laugh when they are stuck in hours of traffic congestion about being the most liveable city. They laugh when they see that might be our slogan; but we are the fourth most unaffordable city to live in," Goff said.

Goff, whose slogan is "a city where talent and enterprise can thrive", said like Brown and mayors who might follow him, he wants to stamp his own mark on the city.

But branding can be expensive, like the $174,000 logo that lasted three years. Or the $329,000 wavy blue logo former Auckland City chief executive David Rankin imposed for council. "The Show that Never Stops" rolled out three years ago by Heart of the City shows they don't always catch on either.

Auckland was ranked the third most liveable city in the world on the Mercer Quality of Life Survey in 2012 and 2013, but has slid to eighth place this year. Len Brown incorporated the slogan into many of his speeches throughout the two terms he served.

Model and presenter Colin Mathura-Jeffree thinks Goff's phrase is "a bit wordy". He joked his personal slogan would read "Auckland: Shopping and Shows".

Colin Mathura-Jeffree doesn't think rebranding is worth the money. Photo / Natalie Slade
Colin Mathura-Jeffree doesn't think rebranding is worth the money. Photo / Natalie Slade

On a more serious note he would like to see something like "Auckland: The Adventure Playground" because it encapsulates the diversity of ways to play.

"I love the fact 20 minutes this way I'm on the beach, 20 minutes the other way I'm on a farm. And in another 20 minutes I'm smack bang in the middle of fashion."

But rebranding isn't worth the money. Mathura-Jeffree said Goff would be a champion if he calculated how much rebranding would cost and then relocated that money into something useful.

"It's embarrassing but we end up forking out for it in our rates. I would rather we have more beautiful roads with flowers on the sides.

"We want a safe city and we want to be able to move from place to place with ease. And in this day and age we want really fast internet."

Chief executive Viv Beck thinks a good slogan needs to evoke emotion, which the World's Most Liveable City doesn't do. Her idea is "the city with a pulsing heart" as it can connect with anyone. It symbolised the necessity for the city to keep "beating" with things to do, eat and buy at all hours of the day.

"I think a pulsing heart attracts talent, ideas and investment. All things you need for an international city.

"The other thing about a heart is it's connected to other parts so it's accessible to all."

Beck said she doesn't think you should change a slogan too often but she understood why the new mayor would want to.

Auckland City mayor Phil Goff wants to phase out Len Brown's slogan for the city. Photo / Dean Purcell
Auckland City mayor Phil Goff wants to phase out Len Brown's slogan for the city. Photo / Dean Purcell

Experts agree that rebranding can be dangerous. AUT tourism professor Simon Milne was surprised Goff would want to change the slogan as it's a great sentiment to aim for.

Dow Design group account director Simon Wedde said if Auckland was his client he would advise them to change the product, in this case the city, to meet the brand rather than change the brand.

"I think the line's fantastic. It's exactly what we should be aspiring to and wanting to achieve ... We could think of it as a mission.

"We want to be the most liveable city in the world, and to be honest we're not that far off."

Wedde accepts that while some elements of Auckland aren't ideal for people struggling with traffic and housing issues, the overall lifestyle is still a win. He suggests the new council work on ways to make the slogan more truthful.

A spokeswoman for the mayor said Goff will not demand to change the slogan.

"His priorities are making sure that Auckland is actually a city where talented enterprise can thrive. And that includes tackling things like housing unaffordability, transport congestion and the culture of Auckland Council."

Auckland Council's economic growth agency ATEED are undertaking a comprehensive rebranding project.

ATEED chief executive Brett O'Riley said more than 50,000 people have been engaged to help identify "The Auckland Story". He said they will present their findings to Goff and the council in the next few weeks.

What people think

Arlette Goldbury, 19, believed the "most liveable city" slogan wasn't the best representation of Auckland.

"It's kind of funny as it's ridiculously expensive to live here."

The student believed the slogan should instead reflect the business development in the city and its multiculturalism.

James Nicols, 29, believed "most liveable city" should be tweaked to "most liveable city if you already own a house".

"The cost of living is so high, I don't think it can really be considered most liveable.

"There is lots of good things about here: the climate, the diversity, the fact, unlike a lot of cities in the world, you don't have to go far to see nature; the slogan should be something around some of that."

Felix Qin, 32, believed Auckland's slogan should reflect the diversity of the city.

"New Zealand is so tiny but there's nations from all over the world here.

"It's difficult to find a place like this in other parts of the world."

Qin suggested the slogans "all the nations together" and "beyond the world".

June Fleming, 77, believed "City of Sails" was a great slogan for the city.

The retired woman lived in an apartment with views of the waterfront.

"The boats at the harbour stand out. When there's special events on all the sails across the harbour are just beautiful."

- NZ Herald

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