Incredinburgh campaign marketing boss in sneaky bid to win slogan backing

Lucy Bird quit her �100,000-a-year post
Lucy Bird quit her �100,000-a-year post
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THE marketing chief behind the Capital’s doomed “Incredinburgh” campaign tried to bypass councillors in a bid to ensure her unpopular strategy was given the green light.

The revelations emerged after e-mails between Lucy Bird, leader of Marketing Edinburgh, and councillors were released showing there was a bitter power struggle over the proposed slogans.

The e-mails reveal Ms Bird quit her £100,000-a-year post at Marketing Edinburgh after complaining of outside interference in the council’s arms-length company.

They also show the slogan “Goaheadinburgh” was considered and dumped after cheap flights to India and information about goth music were found among search results when it was Googled.

Councillor Cameron Rose, the city’s Tory group leader, said the e-mails confirmed that the relationship between the administration and its own marketing company had “failed”.

It emerged in October that relations between the council and Marketing Edinburgh had deteriorated after The Leith Agency – hired to spearhead a £300,000 advertising campaign – attempted to rebrand the Capital as “Incredinburgh”.

The e-mails, released under Freedom of Information legislation, show the new slogan was hated by councillors and that the administration’s deputy leader, Cllr Steve Cardownie, walked out of a meeting with Ms Bird because he believed the campaign was set to get the go-ahead.

An e-mail sent on behalf of council leaders to Ms Bird made clear there was a “strong reaction against the use of “Incredinburgh” and called for the campaign to be postponed.

Ms Bird asked for a meeting with council chief executive Sue Bruce and, in an e-mail, wrote: “As an arms-length company we did not expect or anticipate the need to seek approval for our work.”

She then suggested that Marketing Edinburgh and the council back “WinterInEdinburgh”, and asked Ms Bruce if the revised slogan could be run “without further approval or reference up within the council”.

Cllr Rose said: “The point of the arms-length company is to put a distance between personalities and politics, and to bring in expertise and allow creativity to flourish.”

Marketing Edinburgh chairman Alan Johnston said: “Lucy has led our company through a difficult birth period and created a platform on which, given the right support, Edinburgh can take itself to the world.”

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com