Logos at Dawn: Auckland City vs Broadcaster

31 October 2007

AUCKLAND: Triangles come in all dimensions and types: acute, congruent, equilateral, isosceles, obtuse, scalene, et al. Enough to satisfy almost every need and quirk of fashion, you might think.

But then you're not Auckland City Council or Triangle Television, both of whom are daggers-drawn over their respective triangular logos.

The Auckland community TV station's logo has been around for some ten years; whereas the council logo was unveiled only last week. But according to learned scholars the only guy with a legitimate proprietary claim on a triangle is Euclid.

Lawyers, of course, don't see it that way. Triangle's legal eagle, John Hackett, said the company's logo was registered with the Intellectual Property Office and specifically covered television and entertainment purposes.

So how does that conflict - or risk confusion with - a bureaucratic body that exists solely to run a city?

The council's communications and marketing group manager Mark Fenwick told rival television company TV3 the council could not be confused with a television station - a statement with which no-one but a lawyer would disagree.

The new city logo is part of a rebranding that stemmed from research revealing that a meagre one in ten Auckland City residents and businesses had a positive view of the council.

A result that would be par for the course in just about every town and city on the planet.

Auckland's solution to this widespread civic discontent was not to brush-up its act but (eureka) devise a new logo!

It was conceived by council ceo David Rankin and his management team. But only a handful of senior councillors were privy to it and it was never put to a council committee. Again conforming to a global behaviour pattern among autocrat bureaucrats.

A council mole claims the exercise has already cost taxpayers around NZ$1 million ($768k; €533.3k; £372.8k), that sum including the cost of an expensive marketing consultant, about $300,000 for rebranding and signage for the council's parking business, plus market research and staff hours.

But on matters fiscal, council communications chief Fenwick failed to live up to his job title.

When asked for a cost breakdown by the New Zealand Herald, he dismissed the questions as an "unreasonable and wasteful call on our time" and refused all answers.

Data sourced from nzherald.co.nz; additional content by WARC staff