At a time when councils across the country are cutting back on frontline services, it seems inappropriate to be splashing out taxpayers’ money on non-essential expenditure. But this doesn’t seem to have stopped Herefordshire City Council (HCC) from pursuing a costly re-branding exercise on for its tourist agency. A Freedom of Information request has revealed that HCC recently spent over £50,000 on re-styling their local tourism branding.
In conjunction with Visit Herefordshire, Herefordshire Business Board and others, they advertised for an initial creative brief costing £15,020.06. This was followed by a process of research that cost an additional £12,000. Next came the creation of an accompanying website with a price tag of £21,821.25. Then six newly branded banners were raised in High Town, Hereford, at a cost of £2,480, and finally all boundary signs were replaced for £8,796.56, which meant junking other ‘Welcome’ signs that were just over a decade old.
But what exactly did Herefordshire’s taxpayers get for all this creative expenditure? A sign with a bull on it, blending ‘Here you can’ with ‘Herefordshire’. This failed to impress many locals. ‘It’s the most idiotic, senseless pile of bull dung this council has produced for some while and that’s really saying something,’ said one. ‘Here you can what?’ wondered another. ‘Here you can go bust. Here you can lose your job. Here you can pick fruit…’
‘It will come as no surprise to learn that the council did not employ one of the many fine graphic designers that scrape a living in Herefordshire,’ noted one angry resident. ‘No, they went to one of the most expensive design houses in London, so God only knows how much this nonsensical re-branding cost.’ Well now you know!
‘The branding would have cost considerably more if the partners had decided on individual brands,’ countered the council. But the last word goes to another disappointed local. ‘Ratepayers money wasted again! Why can’t this council just think about how to spend our money wisely? When will they realise it is not their money, it is ours and there are much bigger issues than new signs and branding for the council!’ Now that is well expressed…