‘Have Yourself a Derry Christmas’ advert sparked zero complaints

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Derry City & Strabane District Council received no complaints about its ‘Have Yourself a Derry Little Christmas’ advertisement, it’s been revealed.

The Director of Business & Culture at DC&SDC, Stephen Gillespie, has confirmed the advert remains a live part of the Council’s Christmas marketing drive this year.

A play on words that combines the anglicised form of the city’s ancient name ‘Doire’ with Hugh Martin’s seminal ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ hit, the promotion was unveiled as part of the Council’s Christmas brand toolkit in September.

Last month, however, the use of the branding on a billboard on Spencer Road in the mixed Waterside area of the city sparked complaints from unionist councillors who claimed the use of the word ‘Derry’ was not inclusive.

It was subsequently reported that the billboard was removed in response to unionist complaints.

At a meeting of the DC&SDC Business and Culture Committee this week Mr. Gillespie said it was “disappointing as to how the matter was reported.”

“The council received zero complaints,” he remarked.

Mr. Gillespie said the issue of a balance between the use of the name ‘Derry’ and the use of the name ‘Londonderry’ was discussed at a previous committee meeting and that the Council had taken concerns on board.

Referring to the ‘Have Yourself a Derry Little Christmas’ advert he said Council members and directors regularly challenged its marketing department to come up with innovative new ways of promoting Derry and that it was envisioned that a “play on words will always be used”.

Mr. Gillespie further remarked that the decision to add balance between Derry and Londonderry had been taken before the reports in the media over the Spencer Road billboard.

“It had not been a reaction to complaints,” he said.

“I believe it was a clever play on words and no more than that,” he added.

The Chair of the Business and Culture Committee, Sinn Féin Councillor, Patricia Logue, who raised the matter, said she had been disappointed to here of the negativity surrounding the reportage of the removal of the ‘Have Yourself a Derry Little Christmas’ advert. She congratulated the Council’s marketing staff for the pun suggesting other local authorities would be envious of Derry upon viewing what they had come up with.

Alongside ‘Derry Strabane: Where Your Christmas Begins’ and ‘Strabane: Where your Christmas Begins’, ‘Have Yourself a Derry Little Christmas’ remains a central part of the city’s marketing drive.