Gold Coast rebrand puts a stop to paradise

The Gold Coast wants to let the rest of Australia know that the strip is more than the neon lights of Surfers Paradise.
The Gold Coast wants to let the rest of Australia know that the strip is more than the neon lights of Surfers Paradise. 

Proud. Full stop. Independent. Full stop. Unapologetic. Full stop.

There’s almost a touch of arrogance behind a new campaign to rebrand the Gold Coast.

The new $1.5 billion hospital at Griffith University.
The new $1.5 billion hospital at Griffith University. 

It’s a realisation by people in the city of beaches, bikinis and theme parks that the rest of Australia sees them differently to the way they seem themselves.

Daggy, tacky Gold Coast needs to tell people it’s grown up. At least that’s the idea.

The focal point of the campaign is a red dot sitting at the tail of a simply presented "GOLDCOAST." logo. Get it? You’re not necessarily supposed to, say those behind the design.

"Beach-side style or Brisbane’s backwater?" says the brochure.

It doesn’t matter. The campaign is a point of discussion, geared towards allowing people of the Coast to be proud of who they are and what they’ve got.

Beyond that, it’s about changing a perception outside the Gold Coast, letting the rest of Australia know that the strip is more than the neon lights of Surfers Paradise, ageing roller-coaster rides, and attractive meter maids.

The full stop campaign is attracting mixed response from locals.

"That’s it?" asks a taxi driver.

"It’s a lot of money to spend," says an anonymous punter on talkback radio.

Colourful mayor Tom Tate joins the mass admission. Old branding, he says, is "a bit ’70s".

The red dot has been a costly one, scraping the budget to the tune of about $200,000.
But Cr Tate says it was worth it.

The Gold Coast, he says, is on the verge of being a cutting-edge city - the Commonwealth Games is approaching, there’s a 2020 plan that includes light rail from a new "knowledge precinct" to Broadbeach, a massive cruise ship terminal, and there’s an emerging arts scene.

"I had one message," Cr Tate says. "Make the new brand strong and simple."

The consolidation of brands - travel, arts and education - has a broad purpose. That is, to sell the Gold Coast to those who think it’s an outdated paradise.

That doesn’t mean, however, that Cr Tate will be letting go of the core image of sun, surf and theme parks any time soon.

"Hell no," he says.

"We’re going to highlight it. The spotlight is always on that.
"Nobody can do the bikini like we can. We’ll be who we are with certainty and confidence."

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