Pretty Gritty will cost us £40,000

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Council bosses have forked out £40,000 of taxpayers’ money to come up with a new two word slogan for Calderdale - Pretty Gritty.

The council employed Cardiff-based ‘place branding’ consultants Heavenly to come up with a brand identity for the borough.

Halifax Courier front page

Halifax Courier front page

The agency spent time in Calderdale carrying out workshops, interviewing residents and businesses, and carried out a competition to find out what made our district special.

Roger Pride, managing partner at Heavenly, said: “The idea of Pretty Gritty is to reflect the contrast of the area - the beauty of the hills and the tenacity of the people.

“Calderdale is almost a concentration of all the good things about Yorkshire - the grittiness of the people, the prettiness of the landscape, the drama, the history.

“A lot of places come up with very vanilla branding ideas about surprise, or wonder, or heritage - we wanted to create something with a bit of attitude that reflects the area - we think Pretty Gritty can do that.”

Mark Thompson, Head of Housing & Community Support, Calderdale Council

Mark Thompson, Head of Housing & Community Support, Calderdale Council

But Labour MP for Halifax Linda Riordan said she was unconvinced by the slogan.

She said: “It doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue. I support the area being marketed as it has much to offer visitors and tourists, but it needs more than silly slogans to entice people here.

“The past matters, but the future matters more - slogans that involve the word grit are just harking back to a time long gone.”

Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Halifax Philip Allott, however, believes the slogan is fitting for Calderdale, and is a good starting point for marketing the area.

Roger Pride, from Heavenly, working with Calderdale Council to promote the region

Roger Pride, from Heavenly, working with Calderdale Council to promote the region

He said: “Pretty Gritty is obviously a slogan that someone has thought through - it’s not benign, it’s got real meaning, and that’s what I always look for with slogans.

“Calderdale is pretty and it is gritty - we need to talk up the place, not talk it down.”

Calderdale Council’s head of housing and environment, Mark Thompson said the consukltants had been paid £40,000 to come up with a slogan.

“The aim of the brand is for Calderdale to stand out from the crowd whenever and wherever we talk about the place or have something to promote, and to have a unified look and voice.

“By talking to the people who live and work in Calderdale, as well as those who might want to visit, the Pretty Gritty place brand has been created to say who we are and why we’re special, using a consistent visual language and tone.

“The brand can be used by anyone. It’s not owned by any single organisation or person, so if you have something to say about Calderdale, you can use Pretty Gritty to help you say it.

“The more we use it, the stronger and more distinctive our voice will be.

“Ultimately we are looking for the brand to deliver a higher profile for Calderdale, leading to increased public and private investment, and a vibrant visitor economy.”

Calderdale’s pretty countryside and gritty towns have been highlighted to a national audience in the award-winning BBC TV drama Happy Valley starring acress Sarah Lancashire.

The show, which was shot around Halifax, Sowerby Bruidge, Hebden Bridge, and Todmorden, was the brain child of Calderdale writer Sally Wainwright who is also behind the hit Last Tango in Halifax series, also filmed in Calderdale.

The new slogan will be launched by chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire Gary Verity at Dean Clough, Halifax, on September 22.

* What do you think about the slogan? Do you think the council should have spent so much money on the branding exercise?

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