Memes–more fun in the PhilippinesBy Niño Mark M. Sablan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
There is no doubt how “It’s More Fun in the Philippines”—the new campaign of the Philippine Department of Tourism—got everyone’s attention when it was unveiled last week. Apart from an attractively colorful banig-inspired logo featuring the Philippine map, the use of different colors for the copy was also a great decision. However, the slogan itself—“It’s More Fun in the Philippines”—instantly attracted a lot of negative comments, including how it was just copied from Switzerland’s “It’s More Fun in Switzerland” in 1951.
You do have to commend the DOT for promoting this campaign aggressively—even making use of the Internet for spreading the news. For starters, they put up a website (itsmorefuninthephilippines.com), where you can see three catchy banner ads featuring photos by George Tapan: “Commuting. More fun in the Philippines” shows a group of people on a speedboat and a lone rider on a kayak boat in one of the country’s pristine beaches; “Getting upstairs. More fun in the Philippines” shows a couple of Igorots on the Banawe Rice Terraces; and “Status updates. More fun in the Philippines” shows a diver with an underwater camera riding on top of a butanding shark.
While not really excellent, the campaign photos aren’t that bad as well. But since the Philippines is a country of creative and tech-savvy individuals, several personalized campaign photos have been uploaded by individuals most especially on Facebook. And you know what, some of them are even better—or at least attention-grabbing—than the ones on the site.
A majority of them showcase what makes the Philippines unique and special: “Rehydrating” shows a man using a straw to sip juice from a coconut; “Street dancing” features a bunch of costumed dancers during a fiesta; “Chocolates” puts the spotlight on the famous Chocolate Hills from Bohol.
Some of the personalized campaign photos also highlight some realities in the country. For example, “Affordable luxuries” is the title of a photo of a woman enjoying a hair treatment, a massage, a manicure and a pedicure; and “Funerals” paints a typical scene during a wake in the country, when people usually gamble.
Coming up with personalized campaign photos quickly turned into an addiction for a lot of people, some of them creating something just for the sake of making one—even if they’re not good, funny, interesting, or sensible.
For example, someone used a photo of a table filled with irresistible Pinoy food like pansit and lechon, and entitled it “Dieting.” There is also this guy who made a poster entitled “Night life” although it features a photo of Boracay’s famous sunset. And then there’s this guy who superimposed “It’s more fan in the Philippines” on a photo of various woven fans.
Also jumping on the bandwagon are those who want to promote their business (“Leaving” features a Binalot food chain guy holding a stack of banana leaves) or a cause (someone who’s concerned about the local art industry posted a photo entitled “Art. Needs more funds in the Philippines”).
A couple of rare photos are inspiring: “Nation building” shows a line of colorful houses care of Gawad Kalinga; and “Happily ever after” features photos of an old couple who recently got reunited after being separated for two weeks.
Of course, there is an abundance of funny ones, too. “Yoda,” for example, doesn’t feature the movie character but the local tarsier. And “Horror films” is a movie still of an old Kris Aquino flick.
Truly, coming up with your own tourism campaign ad is more fun in the Philippines.
E-mail the author at email@example.com or visit his blog at ninomarksablan.blogspot.com.