Let the ‘fun’ begin: Netizens spoof, bash new tourism slogan
Netizens did have fun either defending or (nit)picking apart the country’s newest tourism slogan, “It’s more fun in the Philippines.”
Filipino humor quickly found a new target and went viral over the catchphrase, giving it different spins which may or may not help the cause of Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr.
Ideas fresh or farcical quickly sprouted on Facebook and Twitter pages: One user came up with a “poster” showing two men in a sing-along showdown and captioned “Death by ‘My Way’: It’s More Fun…” It was a reference to that joke about the Frank Sinatra classic being the usual fuse of videoke bar violence in these parts.
Another user thought “Watering the Plants” would also be a source of fun worth promoting in the Philippines, posting a photo of a boy urinating against a wall. The image was apparently an expression of disgust over locals relieving themselves in public.
Another mock “fun” poster featured a unique Philippine “water sport,” showing people scampering away from giant, crashing waves on Manila Bay at the height of a storm.
One gave a lighter spin to the notorious traffic jams in Metro Manila, posting a photo of a traffic enforcer dressed as Santa Claus.
Others thought that the “fun” slogan should also apply to the country’s rambunctious and often controversial elections, as well as to the coming impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Still, there were also well-meaning suggestions: Have you tried local pastries like “fun de sal” and “fun de coco”?
Some users weighed in on the observation that the new slogan was not a Filipino original but supposedly a mere copy of Switzerland’s motto in the 1950s.
Mark Manuel @mimattictheory) tweeted: “#itsmorefuninthephilippines, absolutely! But stealing one country’s tourism slogan is not cool!”
Another Twitter user, Sapphire Ong (@sappong), said that while the new slogan was catchy, “it sounded so much better when Switzerland used it in 1951.”
Other Twitter users thought the copycat issue should be given a rest. “I don’t care if there’s ‘It’s more fun in Switzerland.’ For me it’s way more fun in the Philippines!” said Marco Paulo (@countocram).
“Come on! Give me a break! Switzerland 1951? Nega people, stop it. I still say #itsmorefuninthePhilippines!” said Mikaela Lagdameo (@mikaelamartinez).
Part of DOT plan
The Department of Tourism is not actually complaining about all that cyber-buzz being generated by its new pickup line.
That the new slogan had gone viral within just hours of its launch on Friday could only mean good news for Philippine tourism, said Assistant Tourism Secretary Benito Bengzon.
“This is really part of our strategy, to let it go viral. It has been trending, a very good indication of the kind of interest we are generating in social networks,” Bengzon told the Inquirer on the phone on Saturday.
“We see the 25 million or so Facebook and Twitter users as our strength in the Philippines. This is something we could use to convey our message,” Bengzon said.
Jimenez himself has used his Twitter account to defend the new slogan, saying it was merely a coincidence that it echoed Switzerland’s old come-on—and that nobody has a copyright to fun.
“Tourism is successful in Thailand because their positive voice is louder than their negative voice,” the secretary added.
The early criticisms were expected, but the campaign’s success would be gauged by what foreign tourists would think of the slogan, Bengzon said.
“I think what people have to realize is that the application of this campaign is overseas. We will see how the Japanese react to it, how Koreans or Americans react to it,” he said.
The new slogan may not be bombastic but it tells the truth about the Philippines, according to Jaime Cura, a former vice president of the Tourism Congress.
“I think it is very simple, easy to understand and easy to recall. It’s an honest statement. It does not promise something that we don’t have,” Cura said in an interview.
He noted that Filipinos could be fun-loving “even to a fault” and that many foreigners who had visited the country always remember their happy experiences.
“My foreign friends tell us when they say goodbye that they had so much fun during their stay. So instead of copying other countries with their (one-word) tag lines, we should focus on this aspect that has already been proven,” Cura said. With a report from Philip C. Tubeza
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