TechPinas Founder Notes #6:
What I find attractive about our new 'It's More Fun in the Philippines' tourism slogan - aside from the fact that it, in many ways, states the truth - is that it's a people's campaign.
Quoting DOT Secretary Mon Jimenez,
"['It's more fun in the Philippines' is] meant to become a voice for Philippine tourism and this would simply answer the basic question why tourists should come here and that is because it's more fun in the Philippines. [...] And the truth is that the Philippines is more than a bunch of islands and old churches, it's the fun Filipino people that complete the Philippine tourism experience, it’s the people that differentiate us from other destinations." [via]
But it doesn't end there. Filipinos themselves are invited to use the slogan creatively to promote their country in their own ways; This is what will make it their own campaign.
"This is a campaign that you can do anything [with]. Drivers can put it in the jeepneys or dentists can design [a banner or logo showing that] it's fun to have root canal in the Philippines," said Mr. Jimenez.
And Pinoy-made memes like these only prove that the slogan can actually be used creatively (and effectively) by Filipinos,
If these memes merely scratch the surface of how far Pinoys can use the slogan to promote the Philippines, our country should be one of the most attractive countries to tourists in no time.
Use Photoshop Responsibly
We already know that Filipinos are some of the most creative people in the world. There's no question there; There's absolutely no shortage of creativity in our country that we can employ to make our new tourism slogan fly off.
If anything, what some of us need to learn is to keep their creativity in check and not to let the overwhelming desire to create something that can 'wow' others get the better of them.
Case in point: This 'It's More Fun in the Philippines' meme featured in an article in today's issue of Singapore's Straits Times --
The photoshopped image depicts an Asian girl playing with a water gun in what appears to be a festival. "Water Gun. It's More Fun in the Philippines," reads the layered text.
The person who created the meme probably thought that the photo was taken during San Juan City's ultra-fun Basaan Festival;
"Basaan" means "wetting or getting someone wet".
The festival which is celebrated throughout San Juan City in Metro Manila is a time of merrymaking and laughter [with lots of water involved]. Anyone who goes to the town of San Juan, and stays unprotected [on the streets] will most likely be drenched in water. This is true even if you are a complete stranger.
[...] The experience is supposed to remind one of one's baptism. St John The Baptist, San Juan City's Patron Saint, baptized Jesus in the river Jordan; The festival commemorates this event of forgiveness and redemption. [via]
Everything would have been really cool - I mean, the meme has been featured in a major newspaper in another country - had the photo actually been shot at the mentioned festival. But the thing is, it's not.
That photo was taken at Songkran Festival in Bangkok, Thailand by Pinoy travel photographer, Jeremy Villasis. So yes, the photo shows fun - but not in the Philippines.
Mel Cortez, Managing Director of Decisive Moments Photography, posted on his Facebook Timeline his reaction to this utterly embarrassing mistake,
The Straits Times on "Manila Goes Big on Fun to Draw Tourists" -- but the last photo they feature is that of SONGKRAN in THAILAND. How mighty inaccurate and irresponsible. And to whoever created that photo. boohoo to you.
So what went wrong here? The person who created the meme obviously didn't bother to check who actually shot that photo or where it was taken. Had he done his research - if only to give the photographer proper credit - this would never have happened.
What's the take home lesson? In creating your memes, posters and other collaterals using 'It's more fun in the Philippines' slogan, do your research first. Choose photos taken in the Philippines and exhaust all means to give credit to the photographer.