New tourism campaign out: Philippines is ‘fun’

Katherine Visconti
The international line is ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines’ while the line for Filipinos is ‘#1forfun'

MANILA, Philippines (Updated as of 11:53 am) – They are finally out. These are the lines that will convince tourists that Philippine destinations are worth a visit.

On Friday, Jan. 6, 2012, the tourism department unveiled two logos that will accompany a country branding strategy markedly different from how it has been done in the past.

While these logos will still find their way in traditional media spots, they are also designed to be personalized by Filipinos who will then pass it on to their social media networks, in effect creating a stir online. 

The first logo is aimed at the international audience.

MORE FUN. This is the tourism campaign line for international audience. Credit: Department of Tourism.

While it will still be featured on billboards, posters, signages in key target cities abroad, it is meant to be the second line in the campaign.

The first line — an example of what makes the Philippines more fun — will be up to the imagination and creativity of the individuals.

What is more fun can be a conjured image of, say, the Banawe Rice Terraces. An image of that makes climbing stairs here more fun than, say going up the escalator at a London subway.

The second logo is meant for local release.

HASHTAG FUN. This is the tourism campaign line for domestic use. Credit: Department of Tourism.

This was purposely kept short so it could fit the side of jeepneys, splashed on T-shirts and other merchandise, and added to posts on social network. 

The two logos feature a pixelized version of a “banig” or a handwoven mat traditionally used for sleeping and sitting. Within the pixels is the Philippine map embedded in yellow. 

The “banig” shows off the artistry and the superb skills of the native weavers — a hint that the creative process in this campaign harnesses the Filipino’s innate skills.

Social media

This new tourism campaign veers away from the usual adjective-based and one-word superlatives that most country slogans have.

It is not WOW Philippines, nor Incredible India, nor Malaysia, truly Asia, nor Amazing Thailand.

It plays around the word “fun,” purposely coined to be easily remembered, not to be a toungue twister, and meant to fuel the rapid spread of the combined words “fun” and “Philippines” across the World Wide Web.

After all, both words already appear on microblogging site Twitter every six minutes.

This modern branding campaign will harness the power of social media, according to Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, a veteran advertising man. 

(Read more about the role of social media in the Philippines’ tourism campaign here.)

This bold move allows people online to help define what is “fun” not only with the tourism spots, but also with the Filipinos who go out of their way to give visitors a good time.

People power

Jimenez described the newly unveiled strategy as a “people-powered campaign,” making reference to previous street revolutions triggered by calls made on media to oust two previous presidents.

He said it’s a creative process that allows the control of the campaign to rest not only with the government but also with the Filipinos who are very adept at sharing their feelings and insights online.

The modern day meme mutates as it spreads from one computer to the next. At this moment, any person can contribute to constructing or deconstructing the public image of the country.

“We want the world not to watch but to participate,” he said at the press briefing. The adjective-based slogans are  “more about watching.

Social media is not just embedded in the new campaign because it is popular but also because it is cheap. Jiminez related, “I need to conserve the (government) money to buy real media outside. Really, I would be wasting the people’s money just for my ego to have this big launch locally.”

The DOT’s new social media campaign rests on the assumption that the Filipino is good.

“Why do I have confidence in it? Because the Filipino has a generally naturally positive vibe so it will flow in that direction. I really believe that,” he beamed.

(Read more about Jimenez’s vision here)

10 million by 2016

Jimenez said the Philippines is aiming for 10 million visitors by 2016, higher than the previous six million target of the Aquino government, which ends its six-year term by then.

The new target is a big jump from tourist arrivals of 3.7 million in 2011. Jimenez said the 2012 goal is 4.2 million.

The end-2016 target will at least reduce the gap between what the Philippines get now compared to, say, Vietnam, which is visited by over five million a year now, Jimenez explained.

Advertising firm BBDO Guerrero is in charge of shaping “all forms of communication for the country’s domestic and international tourism promotions.” They won the bid in December 2011, but the theme reveal was purposely delayed to January as the country dealt with the aftermath of Tropical Storm Sendong’s wrath. – Rappler.com