Failte Ireland road-tested half a dozen brands for Dublin with potential visitors complaining that one seemed "arrogant" while boasting of "fresh air" in a capital city was not credible.
Among the taglines ditched after market research were Europe's Natural Capital, Outside The Ordinary, and the city's old brand - A Breath Of Fresh Air.
Market research by Failte Ireland found Europe's Natural Capital rated worst of all and was chosen by just 10pc of people as their first choice.
According to those surveyed, this sounded like Dublin was claiming to be the capital of Europe and could be perceived as "untrue or even arrogant".
One man asked how it could be Europe's Natural Capital when it wasn't even on the continental mainland while another said: "I think Europeans might question this."
Outside The Ordinary also ranked poorly according to an internal report, released under FOI.
Those surveyed agreed it set Dublin apart but it was chosen by only 15pc as the best way to promote the capital.
A US man who was quizzed as part of the research said: "The wording is inviting, and promotes the elements of curiosity and intrigue."
Failte Ireland had introduced the tagline A Breath Of Fresh Air in October 2015 but it did not do too well in the research, scoring 18pc of first preferences. It was most popular with Americans who often think of "Ireland's greenness" and that this fitted in with their general perception of the country.
However, for many it simply was "not credible" for a major city and "particularly weak" among Irish people.
Some suggested "traffic fumes in a capital city do not make the air fresh" and it was inappropriate given the typical congestion problem.
Two taglines using "surprise" ranked equally well.
City Of Surprises was enticing for visitors and it performed particularly strongly among British and Irish audiences who felt it "fits their experience the best".
However, not all visitors liked surprises - particularly Americans - saying this was not what they wanted in an unfamiliar country.
One British woman, who was surveyed, said: "I like the idea of something being different or surprising to me. Sounds more exciting."
That tagline was favoured by 30pc, the same who chose the combination tagline of either Surprising By Nature or Naturally Surprising.
This one topped the rankings when people's second and later preferences were taken into account.
"Clearly the word 'surprises/surprising' is liked," said the Failte Ireland briefing.
It said the final decision would have to be whether they should include the word nature or not.
This did not work with everybody, with people in the UK and Ireland who know Dublin being "not convinced" by the references to nature.
In the end, Failte Ireland went with Surprising By Nature as the city's new slogan in October, with this scoring well when compared with other European cities.
"All of Dublin's proposed new lines fare very well against competitor lines," said the internal report.
Among the taglines they asked people about were Edinburgh's This Is Edinburgh, Berlin's The City Of Freedom, and Warsaw's Fall In love With Warsaw.
Some of these, people felt, restricted certain cities to romantic couples or didn't offer enough mystery. Talking about surprises made "Dublin sound like a 'hidden gem' compared to competitors".
Failte Ireland said the Dublin brand was constantly evolving and that the marketing of the city scored very highly against international benchmarks in enticing visitors.