Town branding, as Jonathan Dodd pointed out in the Herald, has a nasty habit of being exceptionally easy to ridicule, particularly if the slogan that eventually makes it onto the welcome sign is based on lies, unrealistic expectations or blatant straw-clutching.
Of course, town branding can work. But the message needs to be inherently true (or at least non-specific and nebulous), which makes it supremely difficult for smaller towns with chequered reputations and limited attractions to escape criticism, whether from their own residents or from outsiders.
Despite the well-known dangers of such branding exercises, however, StopPress believes certain parts of New Zealand are currently in the grip of what can only be called ‘slogan fever’.
Mataura, which lays claim to the world’s eighth most famous bogan, Justin Marshall, one of the highest per capita rates of boarded-up shops in the country and an extremely pungent meaty aroma, has recently enlisted the assistance of an urban rejuvenator to try and turn the rather decrepit town into something resembling the new Oamaru.
Added to that, a gaggle of mayors from the South Island are planning on banding together next month to form a mainland alliance in order to compete for the glistening tourist dollars with the Big Little Super City when the Rugby World Cup comes to town.
Art imitates life, of course, and L&P has also jumped on the brandwagon recently, launching a professionally amateurish, self-deprecating campaign that pokes some good-natured fun at some of the promotional tourism tools of yore (and, by extension, Paeroa). Their fictional town slogan? ‘Come Visit Paeroa Please’. Simple yet effective, with a hint of heartfelt desperation.
Add your best, most entertaining town slogans to the comment wall below and you could win one of five t-shirts from Mr Vintage (while you’re at it, check out their meme fashion and an interview with the viral officer himself on Breakfast).