WE give the world our best.
That is the new country brand being rolled out by the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., starting with a campaign to promote overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
The new country brand was sighted on a wrap-around ad on a London bus recently, a photo of which has been making the rounds of various Viber groups. The bus ad features Filipina-British nurse May Parsons holding up a syringe, with the accompanying text: The nurse who gave the world’s first COVID 19 vaccine. A Filipina. WE GIVE THE WORLD OUR BEST. THE PHILIPPINES.” (Emphasis theirs)
The new country brand was confirmed by popular film director and Presidential Adviser on Creative Communications Paul Soriano in a statement sent through Secretary Cheloy Garafil of the Presidential Communications Office (PCO). “The country branding project ‘We Give The World Our Best-The Philippines’ is [an] initiative of OPACC (Office of the Presidential Adviser on Creative Communications) Secretary Paul Soriano to enhance and execute the messaging system of the Executive branch and the Office of the President as part of its mandate. OPACC worked with several respected creative directors to do initial communication materials on what is intended to be a long-term country branding campaign,” he told the BusinessMirror.
Soriano added that the country branding project was started in the third quarter of the last year, with the aim of encouraging “foreign investors and employees to value [OFWs]. They are our soft power. Filipino Workers whose daily actions touch lives changing behaviors and shape the future of nations all over the world through their competence and compassion.” Featured in the bus ad, Parsons, who works for UK’s National Health Service, later received the George Cross, the highest award that the UK government bestows on civilians, from Queen Elizabeth II. She administered the world’s first Covid jab in December 2020 in London.
Soriano said other government agencies which will launch their own versions of the “best” branding include the Department of Tourism (DOT), Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, PCO, Department of Migrant Workers, and the Department of Trade and Industry.
Follow-up inquiries to Soriano such as the budget allocated for the branding effort and its initial rollout went unanswered.
In the past, it was the Board of Investments, which spearheaded the country branding initiative. The last country branding project, “Make it happen in the Philippines” was drafted by the BOI under President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, but was never approved before his term ended.
Meanwhile, DOT officials failed to respond to repeated inquiries from this paper about the country branding, and if it will also be used as the tourism slogan itself, replacing the decade-old “It’s More Fun in the Philippines.” Developed by advertising firm BBDO Guerrero, the “fun” slogan was approved in 2012 under President Benigno S. Aquino III, and has gone on to reap several major international advertising and tourism awards.
Early on in her appointment to the DOT, Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco expressed reservations on the “fun” slogan, saying it felt inappropriate after coming from the pandemic, and that it was better to underscore the heritage and culture of Filipinos. Tourism leaders disagreed, however, and said the “fun” slogan still works and captures what the Philippines is all about. (See, “Tourism leaders to DOT: ‘Let’s keep having fun’,” in the BusinessMirror, August 12, 2022.) What little tourism promotions the DOT has carried out in print ads or through social media have been scrubbed of the “fun” logo, slogan, and other elements.
Parsons also shared a similar photo on her Twitter account on Monday (https://bit.ly/3LGRqTB)
Image credits: CTTO