It's fair to say that ridiculing New Zealand towns – or, more particularly, the slogans attached to them – is one of our nation's favourite pastimes. And we have the metrics to prove it: 154 entries* to our 'Embrace your sloganic creativity and win better friends' competition.
Good-natured 'insloganity' was rife among StopPress readers and the competition captured the hearts and pinched the nerves of cynics, optimists and equal opportunity offenders alike. It even got a mention in the Herald, leading to an onslaught of comment spam from unfunny fake politicians. LOL! OMG! LOL!
While it was all intended to be a bit of fun, there's also a lesson for bureaucrats and marketers: a shiny, new, presumably expensive brand doesn't maketh the town/city/business and can't be used to sweep existing problems under the rug. Too often there seems to be an arse-about-face approach to such branding initiatives, as if a twee slogan and some broadly encapsulating imagery will be the silver bullet that instantly changes the fortunes of the town/city/business (the reader comments on this story say it all, really). Of course, it's not that easy. Brands are about authenticity, history and honesty (like the town on the West Coast of the South Island that claims on its welcome sign: "If you want England, go to Christchurch. If you want New Zealand, stay here.")
Anyway, enough serious commentary. Back to the perversely patriotic ridicule. There were some truly hilarious efforts sent in (if any New Zealand towns actually decide to use a self-deprecating, tongue-in-cheek slogan, we're predicting it will get massive Kiwi kudos) and the StopPress team engaged in much heated debate to arrive at what we thought were the five best slogans.
The winners will be walking away with a gleaming Mr Vintage t-shirt for their troubles.
And the five top sloganeers are:
Rob Bree: Greymouth – no, it's not a disease.
Paul Duncan: Wellington – it blows.
Simon Wright (all three were good): Dannevirke – don't mention it; NOTHING beats Dannevirke; and You're welcome to Dannevirke.
B: Ramarama Ramarama Ramarama Ramarama Batman!
Frances Chan: 'Hamilton – it's in the way!' (can also be amended to read Hamilton – it's on the way!').
Well done to all the winners (it would seem a future in advertising beckons for you all) and thanks to the many contributors. Keep sending us funny stuff and we'll keep sending you free stuff.
*We're counting the unfunny fake politician spam so we can charge more for advertising.