Friday, January 06, 2012

It's more fun in the Philippines

I'm pretty sure I've blogged about this but I'm blogging it again.

Many years ago, I was sent to Singapore to cover the opening of a Cartoon Network amusement park. It was Christmas season and despite the crowd, the place was eerily quiet, save for the music coming from the rides and street shows. At this point, it had not dawned on us that that was very weird until another Filipino journalist and I got on the roller coaster.

It was just the two of us shouting our lungs out; the rest of the passengers behaved as if they were in a library.

On another overseas trip with a group of Singaporeans and Indonesians, we got to talk about famous celebrities in the region. While I got to drop names like Charice and Lea Salonga, which garnered enthusiastic nods, they were hardpressed for names from their respective countries. (Until I weakly offered, "Stephanie Sun?" thanks to a few MTV Asia Music Awards I've seen on TV. Oh, and Anggun.)

The Department of Tourism earlier launched the tagline for what I think would be a memorable international campaign: It's More Fun in the Philippines.

The logo, which features the Philippines islands, is a play on the banig, or handwoven palm.

It's so simple and true; I can't believe we've missed using the slogan after all these years. After all, whenever I strike a conversation with strangers on airplanes and they ask me about the Philippines, no matter how long my explanation, it would eventually boil down to the fact we are a fun-loving people. It sure more than makes up for all the problems that we have (but which we need to solve, of course, let me be clear on that).

On a technical point of view (I'm in internal corporate communications), it's succinct, and as DOT Secretary Mon Jimenez explained, it answers the question, "Why come to the Philippines?" As I wrote in my entry on Pilipinas Kay Ganda, I'm not really a fan of one-adjective slogans because they lack clarity.

Malaysia is ahead of the pack [in terms of tourism arrivals] with what I personally find as the most obnoxious slogan of all—Truly Asia. (What makes an Asian country truly... um, Asian? It reeks of arrogance; I'm surprised Filipinos, who rile over the slightest of things, haven't filed a complaint at The Hague: "Sinong tinatawag nilang pekeng Asian?!" ["Who are they calling fake Asians?"])

Although in that post, I did raise the point that it takes more than a slogan to raise our tourism profile. However, the new tagline seems to circuit around infrastructure problems and other third-world issues that we have, i.e., "Stuck in traffic? It's more fun in the Philippines."

I will definitely write more entries on why it's more fun in the Philippines :-D

Read: 'It's more fun in the Philippines' - Spread the word, says DOT

8 * :

chelle said...

I'm still a fan of the "more than the usual" campaign but I think one, since it is similar, would be my second favorite. It's easy to get behind it, as long as you've got a sense of humor (luckily most Filipinos do).

My officemate and I were joking about it while reading live updates etc re: the campaign:

ofm: traffic is more fun in the Philippines
me : aminin mo - CHALLENGE ang driving and traffic sa Pilipinas, Tourists can go home and brag theyve survived driving here as if they've gone bungy jumping off a cliff somewhere
ofm: oo nga! pwede ring "Crime is more fun in the Philippines."
me: hahaha
ofm : hello carabao rapists
me: jilted lover shootings at SM
ofm: high drama kasi tayo

The slogan works because it actually markets us too (the people, not just the sights). Everything is more fun in the Philippines because Filipinos are fun. We know how to have a good time despite ANYTHING.

Deepa said...

I like it. And getting Filipinos to participate of our own volition (to "own it", in marketing speak) is genius. I'm definitely inspired to think of, and blog about, things that are more fun in the Philippines!

Jason said...

Lol, true! Humor is important because it would really be hard for us to compete head to head with other countries given some of the issues we have to deal with. The Pinoy experience does give our country an advantage.

Before the campaign was launched, a friend on Twitter said she wouldn't want to grow old and die in the US (in a retirement home), and so in a way, even dying is fun in the Philippines :-D Outside of friends and family, even neighbors will take care of you.

Jason said...

Deepa - That's what I thought too. It's a campaign that allows Pinoy users of social media to channel their energy into something more positive and creative. Really brilliant :-D

Deepa said...

PS. Baka ang tagline ng Malaysia as "Truly Asia" is meant to position it vs Singapore. Which is um, sabihin na nating may pagka-Asia Lite. Haha!

Jason said...

Re: Truly Asia

After posting this, may nabasa din ako na baka it's a subtle attack on Pinoys din since we love to claim that we're 'Westernized.'

Sige, fine. Valid point.

LOL @ Asia Lite, haha!

chelle said...

Hahaha Asia Lite.

When the Pilipinas Kay Ganda campaign came out, there was a whole "oh i can came up with better ideas than the DOT" movement, the new campaign pretty much harnesses that. I think it's pretty smart that the DOT decided to share the responsibility of promoting the Philippines via this campaign. Great way to get people to stop heckling and actually do something useful. :)

Re: dying

I agree. Even funerals and wakes are more fun in the Philippines. :P

amor said...

I like the new campaign (especially the logo. I want a shirt with that print!). I like DOT Secretary's explanation -- very spot-on. This is way better than the previous.

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