Drop It

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If you can’t sell the concept to the Filipino people, you can’t sell it to potential tourists abroad.

It’s a lack of research and a lack of skill in execution that should have “Pilipinas Kay Ganda” dropped, the big idea pushed back to the drawing board, and the whole concept and strategy sent to the proverbial meat-grinder.

I think it was David Ogilvy who once said that people have the tendency to use research like drunken people do street lamp-posts.  Research is often used to support something, instead of illuminating people into why that something is the way it is, and how it could be changed.  In the wake of the whole “Pilipinas Kay Ganda” fiasco, the problem is exactly that.

For a project that cost a lot in taxpayers’ money, generated much publicity, and was welcomed to the tune of parties and fireworks, the Department of Tourism’s bumbling gamble on rebranding efforts was met with a lot of flak.  Rightfully so: the DOT, even when saddled with the unenviable task of giving a brand to anything and everything Filipino, could do better than to use a half-baked slogan and a rehashed logo, at the very least.

Giving the benefit of the doubt to the DOT that they “did their research,” but in the end, what concerns us are results.  If it were well-researched, the slogan would be catchier.  The logo would not have merely imitated those of other countries; the “demonstration logo” looked a lot a lot less like what Poland uses.  The campaign would have been more coherent, the sites beta-tested on demo servers, and there would be no allusions to porn sites.

The campaign would have focused more on the necessities of making a coherent statement about the wonders of the Philippines, instead of introducing “kay ganda” to the global lexicon.  The campaign would have been oriented more towards big ideas, than big ideologies passed along with the seeming need to change a logo or a slogan.  More importantly, the campaign would have been rolled out as complete as possible on the promised launch date.

If it were well-researched, the campaign would not have bombed.  If it were well-researched, it would not have been up to netizens and concerned citizens to crowdsource the job that the DOT should be doing in the first place.  If it were well-researched, there would be no need for apologies, and no room for acerbic criticisms.

A lot of excuses and apologies could be made in behalf of the DOT: budgets, deadlines, the is’s and the ought-to-be’s.  Then again, a half-baked slogan with a rehashed logo is not just a mistake.  It becomes the kind of mistake that is an affront and an insult to Philippine tourism.

It should be back to the drawing board, as far as the DOT is concerned.  There should be an alignment between offices and agencies for objectives and guidelines, and to make sure that everything is proofread, approved, and signed off before considering everything complete.  There’s the need to do research not for the sake of justifying a campaign, but to see where a campaign should go.

A slogan is more than just a tagline for a brochure: it has a big idea, a call to action, and more than that, a key message.  If it sells Philippine tourism, it should do a good job at it.  If you would want your whole family to read it, as Ogilvy writes, then you should execute it well.  If the bottom-line objective is met, then there would be no need for apologies and excuses.

Simply put, the DOT should just drop it and make a new campaign, with the guarantee that the public is now watching their every move.

2 comments on “Drop It”

    • Rico
    • November 23, 2010

    Again, what’s wrong with “Wow Philippines”?

    • Euri
    • December 5, 2010

    I’m being skeptical that all these are for the sake of our tourism. There’s always this thing that they’re just using this as an excuse to get money from the government. I don’t know, just a feeling.

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