A branding specialist has slammed Porirua City Council's nearly $100,000 rebrand - fronted with a wonky smiley face - as boring, saying it does nothing to showcase the city.
Porirua's new public face is a hand-drawn smiley face labelled "limp and childlike" by Taxpayers' Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke.
The $98,876 cost of the entire rebrand was revealed by the lobby group after it obtained the figure through an official information request to the Porirua City Council.
The smiley face logo itself only cost about $875 of the total budget.
"When Porirua ratepayers gaze long enough into the face, the council's 5 per cent annual rate hikes gaze back," Houlbrooke said.
But senior brand specialist from Voice, Jonathan Sagar, said there was more to the change than the smiley face, saying the brand "just lost every aspect of what I believe their community is".
Sagar, who lived in Porirua and has 30 years of branding experience, said council had missed an opportunity to show the best parts of the city, such as the harbour and culture.
"They've lost every little ounce of goodness that that community has, [it's] not represented in that brand."
He said the branding was "boring", if inoffensive.
"They just tried to tick a box to make it plain and simple."
Sagar has worked on branding for many large companies in New Zealand, as well as overseas.
"What happens with councils . . . they get so wound up with not being perceived to be spending money, they just end up with nothing."
He said the Auckland Supercity logo was a good example, as it "didn't reflect the people" and "didn't have any soul".
"I'm quite passionate about making sure that if we're going to put something up there, it represents the vibrancy and essence of what that place is."
The documents released to the Taxpayers' Union state the smiley face logo is "from a series of social media avatar files which were designed and supplied to Porirua City Council for the cost of $875 [ex GST]. It is not possible to provide an itemised cost for just the smiley face one."
The council also told the Taxpayers' Union that the redesign was an attempt to connect with Porirua's "youthful population".