The hunt for New Zealand's worst-ever city slogan is nearing its end, and it's looking like Hutt Valley is the town to beat.
Nick Baker - dubbed a "shadowy data nerd" by The Project on Wednesday night - a title he's added to his Twitter profile - started running polls on Kiwis' favourite homegrown movies, bakery treats and TV shows during last year's lockdowns.
After the appearance of Delta in the community last month, he brought them back - including a hunt for New Zealand's "worst, cringiest, funniest" slogan. Baker began with 32, pitting them against each other in a knockout format.
- Dannevirke - 'Take a Liking to a Viking'
- Porirua - 'P Town'
- Timaru - 'Timazhard'
- Timaru - 'Feel, Touch Taste Timaru'
- Hutt Valley - 'Right Up My Hutt Valley'
- Dunedin - 'It's Not Exactly Edinburgh, But it Sort Of Is (A Pretty Good Plan D) '
- Canterbury - 'Of course you Canterbury'
- Bulls - 'Herd of Bulls? A Town Like No Udder'
- Tuatapere - 'New Zealand's Sausage Capital'
- Wairoa - 'The Way NZ Used To Be'
- Milton - 'The Town of Opportunities'
- Woodville - 'All Good in the Wood'
- Te Atatu Peninsula - 'Life on TAP'
- Te Puke - 'Come and Taste Te Puke'
- Tauranga - 'Tempt me Tauranga'
- Stokes Valley - 'Better Than You Imagine'
- Featherston - 'If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home Now'
The Project host Jesse Mulligan's hometown of Hamilton has had so many bad slogans, it had a pre-tournament poll all to itself. 'City of the Future' - which started life on a student radio station in the late '90s - triumphed over official slogans 'More Than You'd Expect', 'Where It's Happening' and 'HamiltON' before getting thumped by Hutt Valley's shocker in the first round.
The poll is currently up to the quarter-finals, with Hutt Valley up against Dunedin, Porirua taking on Bulls, Tuatepere facing Featherston and Stokes Valley battling Dannevirke.
Hutt Valley won its first match with more than three-quarters of the vote, and downed Mosgiel ('The Pearl of the Plain') in the second with almost 90 percent. Stokes Valley looks to be its closest competitor.
Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins said the best thing his town ever did was give up on slogans.
"Let's face it - all of them end up being a little bit embarrassing," he told The Project, admitting the city had suffered its fair share of terrible slogans, such as 'Dunedin - It's All Right Here'.
"Nobody's hands are clean."
But it's not just Dunedin's pained association with Edinburgh that irks some.
"What I don't like is Dunedin written in that gothic script," said Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall. "Goodness me. Every time I see it, it reminds me Dunedin's a heavy metal band."
McDouall said Whanganui also has an embarrassing past.
"It's like an albatross around our neck, the old one we had - which was 'Whanganui - Well Worth the Journey', which tells everybody that it's a long, long way away."
His pick for the worst is Timaru's 'Feel, Touch Taste Timaru'. which he said "leaves me wanting to have a shower".
Hawkins' pick for the best? Naseby's '2000ft Above Worry Level', which lost to Te Puke's 'Come and Taste Te Puke' in the first round.
"I like Featherston's 'If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home Now,'" said McDouall. "I thought that was absolutely superb."
Mulligan said he "felt a bit sorry for these small towns today, then I thought all publicity is good publicity, right?
"It's kind of like David Seymour from the ACT Party - when you're offering so little, the best you can hope for is for 5 million people to make fun of you, don't you think? That's a win."
Voting is ongoing on Baker's Twitter page.