back to article HMRC blows £1.4m on two-word slogan

Her Maj's Revenue and Customs apparently blew nearly £1.4m in 2006 while brainstorming its way to a new slogan which simply reads "HMRC Ambition". According to the Evening Standard, three rebranding meetings were required to come up with the inspirational rebrand, during which HMRC's top brains rejected a "pink and fluffy" logo …

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"HMRC spokesman offered"

Hmm, how does making the brand name "HMRC Ambition" help improve the quality of the leadership?

The statement the spokesman offered isn't wrong, it's just that it has no bearing on what the spokesman was supposed to be talking about.

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How?

How can you spend £1.4m on three meetings?

I can only assume the cost included changes to stationary etc???

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Anonymous Coward

And still more...

...of MY hard-earned money pissed away on absolute crap. It makes you want to crawl into a corner and cry, then emigrate.

Oh, I forgot.

I am.

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Stop

Rebate please!

FFS! This is the problem with the ego trippy ideals that exist in the UK today. Its a revenue agency - its function is laid out in law, its NOT a business, it doesnt need this corporate B/S. It has a statute function, it is NOT in a competitive market - if the Gov't want to improve the "image" of HMRC, how about cutting out waste like this so they can lower our taxes - or put the funds saved to better use?

This is as pathetic as calling the public it deals with "customers" - we are not... Customers have a choice - we dont get to choose if we want to deal with this entity. Of course this ego stroking was funded out of taxes extorted from the British public.

This is another waste, and those responsible should be sacked, and barred from further work in the public sector.

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Anonymous Coward

@4a$$Monkey

HA!

you wish,

no seriously, i can belive it, i work in a position where i can see first hand what goes on, (hence the annonimity)

3 meetings, as its labled as "brainstorming" your looking at 100+ people to each one, (i've seen it happen its a massive jolly) then you have conferance facilitys, catering travel expenses and factor in the time cost for everone there,

4k ish for each person sounds about right

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Leadership

If you improve the quality and leadership in the department it benefits everyone

Can't argue with that. However, pissing 1.4 million down the drains like this shows how absolutley bereft of leadership they are.

Can we have a recolution please?

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Get yer rounding right...

At 1 decimal place, your headline should be £1.3m.

However, this is yet another example of our money being pissed away by the government. I work in public sector as a consultant and the wastes of money are extraordinary.

Oh well...

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Bronze badge

Two-word slogan

I have a choice two-word slogan that I'd like to tell HMR&C, but I'm too scared.

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Anonymous Coward

Ambition?

One has to wonder what the ambition of HMRC actually is. Answers on a sixteen-page postcard, please, remembering only to fill in sections 3, 7 and 12 if you're claiming benefits, registered blind or have answered 'yes' to any questions in section 1 but not answered 'no' to all questions which appear in section 43 but not in section 8, or you have a lisp.

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Silver badge

I think you're all missing the point.

The brand refers to what HMRC are going to brand on your butts so that they know you belong to their herd. Are should that be flock, do they brand sheep?

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Coat

Slogan

Should have been 'HMRC, where did I put those disks", lots more words for 1.4 million

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Unhappy

Have they lost it?!

Once again we see government bodies wasting our hard earned cash for which we already pay too much tax, it seems the harder you work and the more you succeed the more screwed you get for it and then something like this pops up!

Well how about investing money so you dont lose my $*$*$*$ tax returns in the first place, i have been hit with 4 penalties so far even though i can prove it was delivered, bastards!

I think also the blame should be split to the people who get off on charging public sector this kind of money, hey look, its a public sector job, lets quadruple our prices!

Its about time the government were forced to undergo an audit and release statutory annual accounts like the rest of us, oh but no, because johnny taxpayer would realise where all the bloody money is going!

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Anonymous Coward

For £1.4M you'd also expect a Vision and a Mission Statement!

How about:

Mission Statement: "To tax the inhabitants of the United Kingdom"

Vision: "To be the best UK organisation at taxing"

Not hard, was it!

(Please ask HMRC to send the fee direct to my Nigerian bank account...)

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how about

The Ministry of Savings

or

The Ministry of Security

or

The Ministry of Hope

where do I claim my 1.4m and is it tax deductible?

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3x2

Two Words

Missing Disks

When will the bong smoke finally clear from the UK?

China is busy building a sound industrial base and the west is still holding endless meetings to decide what colour to paint the wheel.

It will end in tears

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it could be worse

I mean "HMRC Ambitions" is really a 5 word slogan, thats only £280,000 per word.

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How much?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Where do you sign up to run these flamboyant affairs?

What a complete and utter piss joke - I could have "brainstormed" them that idea in the matter of 5 minutes, whilst taking a dump. In fact, I could probably of come up with a better one - re-brand altogether to HMBOFT - Her Majesty's Bunch Of Fucking Thieves.

That much money is admittedly bugger all per person in the country - but if you don't watch your pennies, the pounds will never follow.

Bunch of idiots.

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Coat

Two Slogan Suggestions

"Bend over (smiling is optional)"

"All your Cash belong to us"

Mine the one with all the undeclared receipts poking out of the pockets

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Par for the course

@ Mark

Which is precisely the function of spokesmen for all government agencies: change the subject, while implying that this is the same as answering the question. It's a skill.

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Coat

brainstorming??

Surely in these PC times the "brainstorming" sessions would have really been "thought showers"

Mine's the one with the fivers sewn into the lining

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@ Chris W

Chris,

Sheep could only be branded after they have been fleeced.

Oh...., right,..... suddenly I feel cold.

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Unhappy

I really tried hard to come up with a witty reposte...

...to all the anti-HMRC comments made here, but I failed miserably. Even if you allow for the Daily Mail/Evening Standard hyperbole, there is still a shitload of money wasted somewhere, and I don't understand why. Well, no, I do understand why; but... no, words fail me.

I've worked for a major bank that spent 3 hours in a conference with 25 people attending, trying to decide whether a minor software release should be called "Release 1.4" or "Release 2" or "Post release 1.3" or "Pre-release 2". I also have a friend who works for a major Transport for London group in London (As a consultant, I never mention client names), who says that even for a minor software change they have to fill in a form of some kind which indicates the likely impact that change will make. The questions include ones on disability and racial issues. "So - I'm extending this field to have 2 decimal places. How will that affect the Nigerians?" - Sorry, poor analogy there, probably...

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Happy

Dutch slogan

I've always thought the Dutch inland revenue slogan was quite good: "Leuker kunnen we het je niet maken wel makkelijker! "

Which translates (very roughly) as: "We can't make it any nicer, but we can make it easier!"

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Flame

Drop in the ocean

Maybe they figure since they're gambling £100 billion of our money on bailing out Northern Wreck we won't bat an eyelid at spending £1.4 million to only get 50 pages into a dictionary.

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Flame

Jethrow fetch me moy shotgun!

As my late Grandfather used to say, "What a shower of Shit."

£1.4m for the word Ambition!

Ambition for what?

Ambition to cock drop every man, woman and child in the country?

I tell you what I'll sell them the whole phrase, "Their is nowhere to hide." for only £500k. It's specific, accurate and encompasses the entire mentality of HMRC. It also represents a huge saving for the taxpayer.

Oh and I love that phrase, "The Tax Payer."

It desensitises it. Like it means only a select part of the population and therefore not necessarily you.

Hrummpfff!!!

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Paris Hilton

Holidays for their temps?

Maybe they are have decided that their most junior temps deserve a holiday and they are sending them, together with bundles of unencrypted data CD's, on a world tour and they are rebranding themselves accordingly?

Paris Rocks

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Coat

@ tardigrade

he he - cock drop

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Coat

de dum de dum

Right, let's put an end to all this slogan nonsense now, with a public campaign.

The Register

"IT workers against terrible slogans"

(unfortunate acronym for the slogan though - iTwats)

Coat? Never even took it off!

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Jobs Halo

Jobs

my wife just left her job at the HMRC because of the re organisations required to get rid of the x,000 employees required by the government. The constant cost cutting, staff cutting and being told her jobs is moving to a different city every other week and general lack of any visible management eventually became too much of a joke.

On another note. Three meetings, 1.3 million, over £400,000 a meeting, where did they hold them? On Concorde! or were there 1600 people each on a £250 a day in a travelodge!

I choose Jobs because it is all about jobs.

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Happy

What about

The Ministry of Pound

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Coat

More slogans

HMRC - We fucked up and you found out.

HRC - Keeping track of everything better now.

M

HMRC - Must try harder.

HMRC - Hopeless Maniacs' Resource Centre

HMRC - Hidden Money, Random Charges.

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Unhappy

Does the Buck really stop there??

£1.4M seems like a good deal as surely it includes the rebranding of the website, the new signs outside the buildings and behind reception in all the offices, the change to the letterhead, the publicity campaign ( should that be spelt camPAIN??) and all those other unmentionable places this will have to be printed.

It does, surely it does, tell me it does, please don't tell me it doesn't & that it only the tip of the iceberg

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Coat

You Can Do It When You HMRC It!

They could have used the 'Advertising slogan generator'. http://www.thesurrealist.co.uk/slogan.cgi?word=HMRC

Some of my preferred choices...

* Stop! This HMRC is not Ready Yet!

* Hands That Do Dishes Can Be Soft As Your HMRC.

* You Can Do It When You HMRC It!

Scary eh? Soon we'll all be replaced by computers! Mooowahahahahaha....

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Coat

Taxing our Patience!

Wish I hadn't said that now, as that'll probably be next. Or is that what they're already doing with this latest farce?

Mine is the one with the reinforced pockets

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Wie bitte

"If you improve the quality and leadership in the department it benefits everyone from people who claim tax credits to the Government."

How do it do this?

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Flame

Re: Get yer rounding right...

Come on now... you are in consulting. AND in the public sector no less. So you should know that if faced with a figure of £1.34 million, a consultant will NEVER round down, regardless of what math rules say. (S)He rounds up and pockets the difference.

What kind of public sector consultant do you call yourself! Read David Craig's books to get a hint on what a public sector consultant SHOULD be like. :-)

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Flame

Resentment

I just paid over £8k to HMRC for 6 months' tax and I resent this. How dare they take money from me on the pretext that it's for things that the country needs then piss it up the wall like this?!

They go on trying to convince us that "tax avoidance" (the legal use of the Government's tax rules to minimise the tax I pay) is in some way wrong then go and do this. Why TF should I be honest and pay my taxes if this is what happens to the money?

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Hardly news

Parkinson pointed out years ago that a committee will spend little time on the important things that they don't understand, and hours on utter trivialities that are simple enough for them to cope with.

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@Tony Barnes

You'd have to rename it to "Gordon Brown's" rather than "Her Majesty's"; Brown's screwed us for far longer than Her Majesty has been Queen for.

I really wish she'd intervene sometimes and give Brown and the useless twats who work for him the slap round the chops he deserves...

Warning logo cos my blood pressure's getting too high, and bank balance too low.

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Tom
Alert

Cardiff has done this as well

It seems that Cardiff has spent £45K on some crappy logo, which is some circles with Cardiff and Caerdydd written on it.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/south_east/7250149.stm

Theres tidy -isn't it!

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Tax is fun!

Whatever you think about this branding exercise, and frankly I couldn't care less, I'm tired of hearing that tax is theft. Even if you're the sort of libertarian nut who believes the poor should be allowed to die in gutters because it will do them good in the long run, you've still enjoyed years of state-funded healthcare, roads, defence, education, transport, environmental protection that enabled you to earn that money in the first place. So get over it.

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Black Helicopters

@Alan Potter

I've worked for a an IT Supplier who has the HMRC contract

I too have spent 3 hours in a conference with 25 people attending, trying to decide whether a minor software release should be called "Release 1.4" or "Release 2" or "Post release 1.3" or "Pre-release 2".

only it was a one-off .... it happened on every project!!

spooky huh!

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@Andrew Davenport

There's actually a good reason for regressive taxes: the rich get more from the infrastructure.

Think about it, without police, laws, courts and jails, you can only keep what you can defend. If you've a lot of money, you have a lot more to defend and it's a juicier target, meaning you need better protection than someone with a little.

And that protection goes with a lot more clout with the police: will they listen to someone who has a large posh house and knows the Judge personally, or some dole scrounger?

As for education, although the rich will use private, they either own or invest in businesses. And an educated worker is more productive, meaning higher profits or lower costs. So the owner gets a little from EACH educated employee, whereas the educated employee only gets from their education.

Similarly with ambulance, hospitals and other services.

What's wrong is that the more you earn, the more worthwhile it is to dodge taxes by employing an accountant. The poor don't pay much, the rich can afford to avoid it and the middle class get enough money to tax but not enough to make it worth dodging. And, because the rich avoid taxes, the tax rate or rate of regressive increase is increased to cover it.

IMO, remove almost all of the tax law, all the breaks and fiddles. It means the poor and middle class lose out on the breaks, but they can't open loopholes that the rich can dodge. so, because they can't dodge it, the rich pay taxes and so the rates can be reduced, helping all payers.

If you live here, you pay here. No Maldives residence or if you do, you're paying UK tax AND Maldives rates. Some will find out that having an income of £1.4M rather than £1.8M but saving £200k on your accountant and having no worries about being bagged by the revenue is not as bad as they thought. Others will leave, but since we weren't getting much out of them except demands on the UK resources, we haven't missed much.

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@Anthony

Anthony,

You would have a good point, if you weren't an idiot.

Do you understand the concept of state funding? Nobody is arguing that money is spent - that is obvious enough. We are pointing out that perhaps it shouldn't be spent in such quantities on such total and utter pointless lumps of skank-ridden shit.

D

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HMRC Ambition!! Lets celebrate it!!!

I think that it is frankly discusting for so many commentators to imply that £1.4 million was a waste of money to spend on a new slogan and rebranding. HMRC revenue and customs works hard to guide customers and stakeholders through a maze of tax and regulations. A decent image, brand and slogan is crutial to maintaining loyalty to the UK tax system and ensuring that staff are connected to the values and asperations that we all share. This will have imeasurable benefits in ensuring staff retention, especially as there will be a below average wage increase for all the loyal civil servants who have toiled in the HMRC underground salt mines for so long.

Given that the UK has some of the highest level of both direct and indirect taxation in the developed world £1.4 million on a new slogan is quite frankly a drop in the ocean for an organisation of its size. In fact, the revenue could spend 10 times this amount and still be able to cover the cost by improving tax collection or even through much needed increased taxation!

In addition please don't forget the jobs that an excercise of this magnitude provides for the hard working media executives who toil on late night fact finding missions and brainstorming sessions to come up with slogans such as this. The contribution made to the 'knowledage economy' that is held in such high regard by so many other jealous countries cannot be underestimated.

Lastly lets not forget the contribution made to the equally hard working PR event management and catering industry. All of these key workers worked hard to ensure that as these key decisions regarding branding were being made everyone had enough to eat and drink!

As chairman of a media consultancy in London providing just these types of services to a number of government agencies I can ensure readers that it is jolly hard work and money well spent.

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Paris Hilton

Monkey Dust

Doesn't it remind you of the marketing genius from the BBC cartoon Monkey Dust?

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Paris Hilton

@Anonymous Coward celebrating HMRC Ambition...

So what you're saying is that you're the Chairman of a media consultancy in London that has lucrative government contracts.....

Paraphrased......"Its not a waste of money, I'm getting a good chunk of it"

Your entire industry is based on leeching money from other companies, while delivering non-physical assets. Where is the physical value of a slogan, a brand, or a logo? In being recognised and therefore drawing people to a brand. UK Government does not need a recognised brand... it is a monopoly, and there is no alternative government to choose. Thus it is a waste of my money lining your fat cat pockets. No doubt you're quite chummy with some of those new Labour ministers eh?

Paris because even she wouldnt come and call a bunch of us discusting for commenting on wasting public money (it's disgusting btw) and then admit she was getting paid from it.

Mine's the coat thats mostly not there as it got taxed by the government.

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Anonymous Coward

slogans

didn't lennon and mccartney already come up with the best slogan for HMRC in their song 'taxman'?

"you're working for no-one but me"

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Alert

@HMRC Ambition!! Lets celebrate it!!!

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!! I laughed so hard that I actually fell off of my chair, such fantastic British sarcasm in a way that most people would never get.

Or are you just an arrogant twat, the kind that makes so much money you can afford to spend £200,000 on an accountant and avoid paying a single penny on tax that the rest of us have to stump up for by paying ever increasing taxes.

You're either a sarcastic bastard which every one hates or an arrogant twat that every one hates, your choice.

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Does HMRC Ambition...

...sound to anyone else like the name of a ship?

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