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"Dunedin, A Pretty Good Plan D" is a nod to the fact that the southern city may not be people's first choice of destination, the city council's marketing arm says.
The self-deprecating campaign was launched by Enterprise Dunedin, which describes the new marketing campaign as "intriguing" and "high impact".
Past campaigns for the city include: "I am Dunedin" and "Dunedin: "It's all right here".
"We are conscious that Kiwis had to cancel their international travel plans this year and many would have been heading to 'bucket list' locations and activities overseas," Enterprise Dunedin director John Christie said.
"Dunedin may not have been their first choice, but it is 'a pretty good Plan D' and can offer alternatives comparable to those found in Europe, Asia, Australia and the US."
The campaign's first focus will be on people living within a 4-5 hour drive of the city - those in Canterbury and the south of the South Island. It will then expand to Wellington and Auckland.
Before Covid-19 the domestic market was Dunedin's largest, accounting for $527 million in the year to March, Christie said.
"For the many Dunedin businesses that rely on tourism, the current economic downturn makes attracting New Zealand visitors to the city over the next six to eight months crucial to their survival."
He said the compact city had plenty of destinations that international tourists raved about and he hoped Kiwis' perceptions would be changed by the video campaign. It's also encouraging Dunedinites to visit local attractions with a new app offering special offers and promo deals.
The campaign has prompted a decidedly mixed reaction online, with former National MP Katherine Rich saying it was a bit "Eeyorish".
Another person on social media said it was "so bad it's actually rather good", while another said "Isn't Plan D a dating app?"
NZ's worst town slogans? You be the judge
New Zealand's towns and cities have a history of hit-and-miss marketing slogans, some of them unofficial. They include:
• Ashburton - Whatever it takes
• Wairoa - The Way NZ Used to Be
• Featherston - If you lived here, you'd be home by now
• Timaru - Touch, taste, feel
• Foxton - The Fox Town of New Zealand
• Stop and taste Te Puke
• Matamata: 'You matter in Matamata'
• Gore - A little bit wild, a little bit out there
• Hamilton - More than you Expect, which replaced "Hamilton, Where it's happening"
• Dannevirke - Take a Liking to a Viking
• Porirua - P-town (Mayor Nick Leggett insisted on using the moniker for several years but it was never made official)
• Right up my Hutt Valley
• Tempt me Tauranga