HAMILTON - Hamilton is no longer "Where It's Happening," but it seems the city still offers "More Than You Expect."

The new promotional slogan was approved by the city council yesterday as part of a $50,000 advertising campaign designed to position the city as a "top-of-mind" destination.

The campaign is expected to complement the council's economic development strategy - also formally adopted - which aims to turn Hamilton into a "World Centre of Life Sciences."


A new business liaison role will also be formed within the council as part of the strategy to help promote commercial opportunities.

The More Than You Expect campaign will paraphrase the slogan in ads and billboards comparing the city with popular Auckland icons: "Hamilton Gardens - more visitors than Sky Tower"; "... more drama than Shortland St"; "... more lattes than cows."

The campaign also takes a cheeky dig at Auckland's traffic woes in an advertisement portraying driver frustration: "There must be more to life than this."

The council dropped the slogan Hamilton - Where It's Happening last year after using it to promote the city for six years.

An earlier attempt to brand Hamilton as the Fountain City failed because of lack of support. Attempts last year to rename it Waikato City also flopped after a public outcry.

The Hamilton City Council general manager of marketing, Stephen Hill, said the new slogan was not an official city brand name, but he was happy for it to be used positively to describe the place.

"One of the key things that we found pleasantly surprising was that visitors to the city always found more than they expected here."

But the general manager of the advertising company Grey Communications Group, Stewart Gilbride, felt the slogan was defensive and lacked inspiration.

"I think that it's a fairly defensive line. It seems like it's a line formed by committee: defensive and not very subtle."

The Edge radio station DJ, Jay-Jay Feeney, said the slogan was positive and an apt description of the city.

"Don't you find that you're always defending Hamilton to your friends? Well, Hamilton's defending itself this time."

Gordon Chesterman, a former president of the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand, said he liked the slogan because "it captures what people are thinking."