Monday, January 9, 2012

it IS more FUN

i previously posted this question what's there to visit in the philippines? i thanked the raiders who answered and gave their ideas about what to promote in the philippines. of course, that post was based on trying to strategize the best way to market the country to foreigners. at lot of talk was generated by the ballyhooed 'Pilipinas Kay Ganda' campaign. and comparisons with 'Wow Philippines' were made. and these were all benchmarked against 'Malaysia, Truly Asia', 'Incredible India', etc. etc. but at the heart of it, i still wondered, what really is uniquely 'Philippines'? we can come up with great slogans but what are we really selling? and if i look at the country campaigns, i can even daresay that the elements are interchangeable, except perhaps for a tourism icon that is truly globally recognized. so when we talk about our pristine beaches, and geological formations, these don't seem so unique anymore. foreigners have hundreds of beach destinations to choose from. intramuros? they might as well go to europe. and i can go and on. mid-2011, a domestic campaign won awards for DOT.

and instead of racking its brains trying to be unique, it highlighted affordability. well, it is a compelling positioning. imagine the same thing at 10% of the price? but this was for domestic travellers, where cost is an issue. it could apply internationally, if we choose the 'budget traveller' segment as our target market. but we can't be fighting on price alone. there must be something else. in the late 80's, DOT had a poorly funded campaign positioning the country as 'Fiesta Islands'. i like 'fiesta', it is widely accepted locally and yet has an international ring to it. and it highlights something unique (so they say: the hundred and one fiestas we hold yearly). the only problem i had was that it was limiting. it was highlighting the events, not the country. and seasonal.

from the comments i got from the post, one included a reference article written by foreigner who just travelled here in the country. and it also lists down many of our usual tourist destinations. but it ended with how unique the Filipino smile is. or to be less romantic about it, how unique the experience was because of the way the Filipinos interacted with them. we were approachable, helpful, charming, hospitable, always laughing, inquisitive... we were 'fun'. and that struck a chord. if i were to plan a campaign, i would use that as the central insight. how do we market the tourist experience in the country, using the Filipino's unique character as a unique benefit? the great thing about the Filipino is that he/she is currently our no. 1 export product. and though there are some negative associations with being "Filipino" abroad (mostly from other Filipinos), the experience of working with Filipinos has been rich and rewarding. and they experience this not just in the workplace, but at other places as well, in churches, and even in the OFW homes as they welcome their foreign guests with overflowing food and karaoke. (at this point, please suspend comments on kidnappings and security!) the Filipino is fun-loving, whether in the homes of Hong Kong or on the building sites of Jeddah or here at home! so a tourist's experience of the Phiippines' beautiful beaches, wonderful sights becomes infintely richer as they are welcomed, entertained, charmed, served by the fun-loving Filipino! is this the campaign i've been looking for?

if you visit the site, you'll note the blurb below, an exact description of the insight.

the tagline itself, with SOOOO many people attacking it does not capture the entire insight. but it is not supposed to! the tagline is just that, a one-liner. the campaign will rest on the visuals, the copy, the entire concept as it plays out. in the same way, what is "malaysia, truly asia" as a simple line? but we remember that line remarkably well because we saw the entire campaign as a seamless "proof" of how 'Asia' malaysia is. so im excited to see the entire campaign. the insight is there. and the starting executions already show the potential of the campaign. i stop here. for ive said so much. but there is an amazing sequel to this post, coming from an article in rappler, from maria ressa... - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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