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Philippines: Netizens dislike new government tourism campaign

The Philippine online community is up in arms over the government’s new tourism campaign. The uproar is such that barely a day after the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) previewed the “Pilipinas Kay Ganda” or “Philippines So Beautiful” campaign, its website (beautifulpilipinas.com) was taken down for a revamp.

Various blogs, facebook statuses, and twitter accounts have all become sites of disgust towards the “Pilipinas Kay Ganda” tourism branding. There’s even a facebook application (recently brought down by facebook) where you can type any name in place of “Pilipinas” in the slogan has as a way of poking fun of the campaign.

Sophia Dedace’s coverage of the hullabaloo refers to the many online critics of the slogan and website. Blogger Noemi Lardizabal-Dado, for example, gathered quotes about the DOT campaign from her Facebook friends:

”Sounds like a morning show's title…”
“‘Pilipinas Kay Ganda’ should be translated to English for a more broader appeal. it's a good name recall if you understand Filipino but for foreigners, they won't bother at all. ‘Malaysia Truly Asia’ is exquisite.”
“is this intended for pinoy balikbayans only? i don't think too many foreigners will understand this slogan – most of them don't read and understand tagalog.”
“ the graphics are beautiful but the content is sorely lacking. it gives me the impression that the DOT people do not know their own country. we have more beautiful places to see which were not even mentioned.”
“This is brilliant ! Pa-share para we can help spread the good news . Cheers”

In his facebook status, Cebu-based tour guide Bino Guerrero zeroed in on the sloppy writing and blatant errors in the “Pilipinas Kay Ganda” website. He clarifies that “Talima is not an Island” but “a place in Olango Island” and that the Ayala Mall closes earlier in the evening to be qualified as a center of Cebu's nightlife.

where in Cebu Can you find this? “You will also see cliffs that tower above crashing surfs, virgin forests, clear rivers, mossy jungles, and cool mountain ridges.”

Here are some more comments from twitter:

choyzee: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. WOW Phils was brilliantly conceived by Gordon. It would be wiser to just retain it. #HelpDOT #NoToPKG
journeyingjames: if you guys want to promote the country, make sure you have seen the country first hand. don't plagiarize fro other websites#NoToPKG
tessdhalili: P100M not enough? Lack of funds is not an excuse to lack of creativity. #HelpDOT #NoToPKG
xxxriainxxx: Somebody needs to tell Sec. Lim that “radical and risky” are not synonyms with “mediocrity and lack of creativity”. #HelpDOT#NoToPKG
ivanhenares: if he had P100M budget of DOT, would have asked top ad agencies to bid for new campaign or launch contest for new slogan #helpDOT#NoToPKG
marielitams: how funny people are putting their thoughts and ideas for marketing tourism! listen up DOT! #helpDOT
tsardsters: I believe the DOT should put the tourism budget to where it is supposed to be, and not into hungry pockets. Makes sense?#HelpDOT

Our Awesome Planet comments on the slogan’s negative connotation of selling the country’s “young exotic women” to the international sex market.

It does not help that Beautiful Pilipinas is a double-edge branding that promotes the natural beauty of the Philippines but also insinuates we have Beautiful Filipinas (which is a porn site if you look online).

During the launch last night, the Pretty Young Thing group performed a sexy number for the representatives of the International community. It was not appropriate and it gave a totally wrong mental image about the campaign.

Manila Boy meanwhile points out that the new campaign logo may be plagiarized.



With all this flak, it comes with a twist of irony that the advertising company behind President Noynoy Aquino’s victorious May 2010 presidential campaign recently confirmed that it had an advisory role in the crafting of the new “Pilipinas Kay Ganda” tourism brand. Because of negative public feedback, the government announced it will develop a new tourism slogan.

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