FROM declaring to the entire world “It’s More Fun in the Philippines,” the Department of Tourism (DOT) is now seemingly imploring tourists to “Love the Philippines.”
The DOT unveiled the new tourism slogan and brand campaign to select guests on Tuesday during its belated 50th-anniversary celebration at the Manila Hotel tent. The new slogan will headline the enhanced Philippines brand campaign that is expected to help attract close to 12 million international visitors by 2028.
Among those at the formal launch of the new Philippines brand campaign at the anniversary themed “Greater Innovation, New Tourism Opportunities” were President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., former tourism Secretaries and current DOT officials led by Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco, along with private tourism stakeholders.
The new slogan and brand campaign was created by advertising agency DDB Philippines Inc., for a sum of P50 million, as per the published terms of reference (TOR) of DOT’s Notices of Bids issued in February. The formal “pitch” for the updated branding concept was supposed to have been held on March 14, with another shortlisted bidder, IPG Mediabrands Philippines Inc.
‘Unique, attractive, creative’
“There is more than fun and adventure in the Philippines,” said Frasco during her speech at the launch, explaining that the new slogan reflects the other facets of the country such as its heritage and culture. “Love is the story of the Philippines,” she stressed.
According to the tourism agency’s TOR, “Under a brand campaign to be proposed by the creative agency, the updated branding campaign seeks to (i) spark the sense of pride in our Filipino identity and rich cultural heritage through a country brand (ii) introduce a Filipino brand that is unique, attractive, and creative and (iii) promote the integral role of tourism in the economic development.”
The new brand campaign is expected to help increase international visitors to 11.5 million and 137.5 million domestic trips taken by 2028, the last year of the Marcos Jr. administration, from 4.8 million international visitors and 85.1 million domestic trips this year, as per the baseline scenario projected by the DOT in its National Tourism Development Plan 2023-2028. (See, “Domestic spending to propel tourism sector gains by 2028,” in the BusinessMirror, May 19, 2023.)
The updated tourism brand will replace the still-popular “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” slogan developed at the cost of P5.6 million by advertising agency BDDO Guerrero in 2012, under the term of then Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr., an award-winning advertising industry veteran. From 4.3 million foreign visitors in 2012, the Philippines managed to attract 8.3 million by 2019, before the pandemic led to the closure of international borders. From 2020 to the first half of 2022, the DOT tweaked the “fun” slogan with health and safety assurances to encourage Filipinos to travel to domestic destinations.
Tourism stakeholders have repeatedly tried to persuade Frasco to keep the “fun” slogan “because it still works.” At the Senate budget hearing on DOT’s P3.5-billion budget for 2023, Frasco pledged to senators the agency will retain the “fun” slogan. However, the DOT chief managed to persuade Marcos Jr. to veto a proviso in the P5.3-trillion national budget for 2023 allowing the agency to change said slogan. (See, “Presidential veto clears way for change in tourism slogan,” in the BusinessMirror, December 22, 2022.)