Tombstones of Waste

NCC Logo

Trademark of Waste

We ran a front-page news story on January 20th that discussed the initiatives around a new logo for the NCC. The next day, they rented a truck, came to our loading dock, and loaded up inserts that were put there for us to distribute on this Sunday.

James Orban, Ottawa Citizen general manager
CBC News, January 27, 2004

Trademark of Waste

It's on every NCC tombstone of waste in the city, every sign, every plaque commemorating the destruction of some part of Ottawa's heritage - the NCC logo. Banal and omnipresent, it celebrates bureaucratic incompetence and a general lack of taste.

And it's changing. Sort of. In January 2004, the Citizen revealed that the National Capital Commission was spending $500 000 to implement a new corporate identity - which is to say, a new logo. Which happened to be the same as the old logo. Confused? According to the documents obtained by the Citizen via an access to information request, NCC staff spent 298 days and more than $16,000 on focus groups deciding on the "new" logo. What they ended up with was virtually the same as what they had before.

Old NCC logo New-ish NCC logo

However, replacing the subtly changed logo on signs across the city, stationary and promotional materials, etc. will cost an additional $500 000 over three years. This continues the NCC's recent orgy of spending on its own self-promotion, which has also included conducting polls, revamping its web site, and hiring a vice-president of marketing, communication and external relations (Guy Laflamme). All this for an organization that is, at least nominally, a public service.

To top it off, in a fit of pique, the day after the Citizen published its story on the NCC's new logo, the NCC cancelled a $30,000 ad campaign for its winter beanfest Winterlude. The NCC lamely claimed that it was just a coincidence and that it simply got a better deal elsewhere -- this after having advertised and distributed their Winterlude flyer in the Citizen for the past 12 years.

CBC: NCC pulls ads from The Citizen [27 Jan 2004]