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Absolutely, positively logo here to stay for now

Nov 3rd, 2011 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

IT’S 20 years since the Capital adopted Absolutely Positively Wellington as its motto, and at least one city councillor thinks it’s time for a change.

But Iona Pannett (pictured above) has yet to get any support, after she raised the possibility of a review at last month’s council meeting.

“It’s timely that we [the council] re-looked at it,” she says.

The logo was adopted by the council in September 1981, and was invoked at a time when Wellington was a “grey public sector town”.

“Wellington’s a lot more cosmopolitan and international now and it needs to be updated.”

Other councillors contacted by NewsWire disagree, although some concede there is confusion about what the official branding actually is.

Labels like “the coolest little capital” (coined from a favourable review of Wellington in The Lonely Planet), “New Zealand’s European capital”, “smart green Wellington”, “arts and culture capital”, and “creative capital” have all been used in recent years.

Ray Ahipene-Mercer disagreed, saying it remains the most suitable logo for Wellington, as it has stood the test of time and is nationally and internationally recognised.

“APW supports our brand as arts, culture and events capital with supporting confirmation by way of surveys of both Wellingtonians, as well as New Zealanders nationally.”

Stephanie Cook said APW is “fantastic and just because something is old doesn’t make it out of date.

“A truly great thing is something that endures and continues to be relevant.

“Look at the Rolling Stones or Beatles music or for that matter Beethoven or great art, Leonardo da Vinci, etc. Viva Absolutely Positively Wellington!”

Justin Lester said the APW brand encapsulates the vibe Wellington possesses and seeks to impart on visitors, and therefore remains relevant.

“I’m yet to see an alternative that is better. The logo itself might be able to be refreshed and I’d be happy to consider reviewing that.”

Andy Foster agreed that the number of labels being attributed to Wellington has created the debate, but stuck with the majority of councillors in saying that APW was the most relevant.

“APW still seems to have a life that most similar images struggle with. So I think it’s got more life in it yet.”

Ian McKinnon said Coca-Cola does not change its branding/image every time there is a change of fashion: “Nor, in my view, should other organisations which have a successful branding, as is APW for Wellington.

“One day it may have to change, but not now. And even when that day comes, I would advise very careful thought.”
Positively Wellington Tourism CEO David Perks says the city does not necessarily need a tag line:  Wellington is just that – Wellington.

“We can be Smart Green; Creative Capital, Cuisine Capital, Events Capital, etc,etc,” he says.

“Absolutely Positively Wellington is highly valuable as a proposition to ourselves, the citizens, about how we carry ourselves in our relationships with each other and the wider world and should be kept for that purpose.”

A recent Newswire poll asked: “Is the slogan ‘Absolutely Positively Wellington’ still relevant?”

The 119 people who responded were evenly split over whether to stick with the tried and true APW or to adopt The Lonely Planet’s ”Coolest little Capital”.

The results are as follows:

Yes, it’s timeless – 39%, 46 votes.
I prefer the ”Coolest Little Capital in the World” – 37%, 44 votes.
No, it’s surely had its day after 20 years – 24%, 29 votes.

 Absolutely positive beginning 

Wellington City Council adopted the logo two years after a campaign started by Wellington Newspapers Ltd, then owners of The Dominion and The Evening Post.

They gave free advertising space to Saatchi & Saatchi with a brief to instill a sense of pride in Wellingtonians to get them feeling positive about their city again following the economic downturn of the1980s.

The result was a series of eight profiles featuring Wellingtonians who had turned their lives around by getting out there and doing something.

They included people like Stefan Lepionka, who was getting up and squeezing oranges in a converted washing machine and delivering fresh juice to hotels (Stefans, now Charlies), and Gordon May, who bought an old sewing machine and started making ties (Rixon Groove).

At the bottom of each page was a simple three line logo: “Absolutely Positively Wellington”.’

Kim Wicksteed, former general manager at Saatchi & Saatchi, told The Dominion Post the campaign was not aimed at tourists.

In fact, it was not supposed to sell anything.
Instead, the motto was a kind of municipal pick-me-up, an attempt to get Wellingtonians enthused about their city again.

The original Absoutely Positively Wellington promo video.

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is a journalism student from Whitireia.
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  1. Why don’t the councillors stop being so arrogant and bring in outside ideas instead of thinking that they know best?

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