“In spite of all our troubles, (the Philippines) is probably not only the most beautiful place in the world, it’s also one of the happiest … (At the end of the day,) tourism is not just about marketing, but also about love of country.”
— Quote from Philippine Secretary of Tourism Ramon Jimenez in response to the question ‘Why should anyone come to the Philippines?’, during a one-on-one interview with Boy Abunda for the ABS-CBN public affairs program, “The Bottomline”
The Philippine Department of Tourism just announced the country’s latest and most-awaited international marketing campaign slogan, “It’s More Fun in the Philippines”.
“Our strategy is simple: while other countries invite you to observe, Filipinos can promise a more heartfelt and interesting experience. Wherever you go, whatever you do in the country, it’s the Filipinos that will complete your vacation and will make your holiday unforgettable,” explains Sec. Jimenez, a top advertising executive before he was asked by President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino (PNoy) to serve as Secretary of Tourism. Jimenez is regarded as a rockstar in Philippine advertising, known for being behind many successful advertising campaigns, including the widely popular ‘Chickenjoy’ sales pitch for Jollibee, the Philippines’ leading fast food chain.
As Sec. Jimenez told InterAksyon.com, Filipinos have a “special gift for transforming what is already a beautiful place into an unforgettable special place. You take two identical islands, put Filipinos in one, it’s going to be more fun there.”
We’re #1 for fun!
The campaign is set to be rolled out in international markets starting April this year, but as soon as it was publicly unveiled on Friday (January 6, 2011), #ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines already trended worldwide, at first place. Its related brand hashtag, #1forfun, also trended locally. The Tourism Secretary recognizes the Filipino savvy when it comes to social media — the Philippines being the only Asian country that can cause a trend on Twitter — and counts on the Filipinos to be their campaign ambassadors in the internet, especially since the country has a relatively limited budget for tourism promotions compared with other countries.
Official Campaign Photographs
The new tourism campaign was conceived with the help of top advertising agency BBDO Guerrero | Proximity Philippines.
Celebrated veteran travel photographer, and one of my personal favorites, George Tapan, has perfectly captured the essence of the campaign through his magic eye and expert camera lense.
Tapan’s photographs were used for the initial campaign launch of “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” (Photograph source: official campaign website: www.itsmorefuninthephilippines.com). Just last year, the multi-awarded Filipino photographer’s “Into the Green Zone” photo of Palawan was named first place winner in the Places category of the National Geographic photo contest, besting about 20,000 entries from 130 countries.
Through the years, Tapan has won numerous local and international awards for travel photography. His works have been published in various prestigious industry publications, both in the Philippines and abroad. The veteran travel photographer is the 1990 Gold Grand Award winner of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA). He is also the Department of Tourism, 1999 Kalakbay Award – Travel Photographer of the Year.
We “want the world not to watch but to participate” in the new campaign”. — Philippine Secretary of Tourism Ramon Jimenez
In his blog, respected Filipino lawyer, prominent legal academician and Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of the Philippines awardee for Human Rights/Legal Aid Atty. Theodore Te invites those of us who know and love the country, and who have the privilegedly firsthand experienced of the unique joy of the Philippines to ‘Complete the Sentence’:
“It is an open-ended invitation to complete the sentence and to take part in a conversation on something that I, and Filipinos everywhere else, know — that it IS more fun in the Philippines.
The understanding that one could complete this particular sentence starting or ending with ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines’ is an amazing exercise in citizenship, in identity, in optimism, in truth. It is also, consistent with tourism campaigns everywhere else, a great opportunity for a people to come together and agree on something.
That is why I choose to own and complete the sentence. It’s more fun in the Philippines. Indeed.”
Filipino netizens are completing the sentence, even punctuated by photographs that tell a thousand words, and posting these on Facebook. It’s their own take on the tourism campaign:
Photos below show Filipino photographer Mon Corpuz’s photo renditions of “It’s More Fun in the Philippines”, also widely shared on Facebook.
The happiest people in the world
People define a place. Our smiles, our hospitality, our faith, our kindness, our creativity and even our craziness! Filipinos have time and again been counted as among the happiest people on the planet, based on the Happy Planet Index and other global happiness surveys. We have the intrinsic ability not only to stay sane amid seemingly insurmountable challenges but to even laugh at our misfortunes and remain ever hopeful. We are resilient!
Most of all, we love to celebrate — whether it is with family, friends or as a nation. “Christmas and New Year are more fun in the Philippines,” shares one Filipino on Twitter. I agree! I’m still having LSS from the ABS-CBN 2011 Christmas station ID, “Da Best Ang Pasko ng Pilipino”, sung by Filipino Youtube sensation Maria Aragon. Don’t we have the longest and most festive Christmas seasons in the world? Christmas songs and decors abound as soon as September kicks in and lasts up until February the following year. Below is one netizen’s tribute to the Parol or Filipino Christmas lantern.
Here is my own take on the tourism slogan. It’s not exactly faithful to the visual identity of the campaign (I am no Photoshop expert), but this is the best I came up with. Tip: Use the Harabara font, which you can download for free!. Click here for further tips on how you can create your own “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” meme.
No matter how much I love to travel abroad or aspire to experience working and living (temporarily) overseas, I know that my heart still belongs here. Life is definitely much happier in the Philippines. There is no place like home! – Sankie S.
We make the difference
Focusing on the country’s core strength, the new Philippine tourism campaign singles out what no other destination can offer – and that is the Filipino people. The Lonely Planet guidebook calls Filipinos ‘among the most easygoing and ebullient people anywhere.’
The Philippine Department of Tourism hopes to bring in 12 million visitors to the country by 2016, when President Aquino steps down from office. It’s about time people discover the shining beauty of the Philippines and its people. But it’s only more fun if we make it so. The slogan is only as true as we allow it to be. The campaign’s potency is reliant upon us Filipinos. Yes, our economy is still struggling to keep pace with other more progressive countries and we are still cleaning up our government of corrupt public officials, but the truth is, beauty and troubles are inextricably mixed not only in the Philippines but everywhere else in the world. Ultimately, it’s still the people who make the difference.
“The national line is a goal, a constant reminder to ourselves why we can tell travellers it’s more fun here than anywhere else.
It needs everyone’s support for it to stay true—we need to make sure people’s experiences in our country are positive, enjoyable, and most of all, fun.” — Philippine Secretary of Tourism Ramon Jimenez