Apparently, that was one of the other slogans proposed by Campaigns & Grey to the Department of Tourism for its new marketing campaign/branding for the Philippines. The others, aside from the much-ballyhooed, "Pilipinas Kay Ganda!" was "Visit Philippines", and "Wonder full Philippines" -- not very creative and exciting either. I guess if you look at the choices, PKG does sound better than all the others the advertising agency proposed.
In a statement from C&G distributed to select media, the agency said they were wary of actually proposing anything for the branding project because they were aware of how complicated the gov't bidding process is, and as yet, it still hasn't been paid by the past administration for work done. But "our love of country prevailed." Hang a sec and let me get a tissue...the waterworks just got turned on. (The full press statement here courtesy of Harvey Keh/Ellen Tordesillas.)
As I pointed out in my earlier story in BusinessMirror, the same agency was contracted also by the DOT's attached agency Phil. Convention and Visitors Corp. for a medical tourism campaign in 2009. I'm assuming that that's the project the press statement is referring to as still being unpaid.
Even then, because this current DOT project was so poorly made, and so unimaginative - it's like the creative assigned to this didn't put his or her heart (brain?) in it - I think C&G shouldn't be paid for it all, even if there is a "less than a million pesos" budget for it, as DOT U/Sec Enteng Romano told me earlier. As a taxpayer, I'm outraged that this kind of mediocre work is even being considered for payment.
To be fair, one of its proposed slogans makes use of our boxing champ Manny Pacquiao, jogging in what looks like the Saranggani port, with the light of the early morning in the background. Maganda na sana, until you see the line in the middle: "No wonder the inspiration comes easy". Then at the bottom right, the slogan: "Wonder full Philippines." WTF?!?!
Nalaglag ba IQ ko kaya di ko ma-gets? When you see a photo of Pacquiao, the first words that usually come to mind are "champion" or "strength" or "victory". I'm sure the ad man behind that wanted to say that Pacquiao inspires people, which is true. But sorry, there was really a disconnect in that slogan.
So that's the conundrum C&G now finds itself in. And it wants to blame the DOT for it. The agency says DOT started taking "too many shortcuts", rushing them to come up with concepts "to be shown in some travel industry events." So instead of putting its foot down and telling DOT it shouldn't be done, it turns in mediocre work instead. "Luv ya Phil"? what is that? a new TV show? And their excuse for plagiarizing Poland's own tourism logo? Because DOT told them to look at it "for inspiration". Inspiration, my ass, that was clearly copying, period.
I also don't buy C&G's excuse that it was surprised at the magnitude of the launch. The grapevine has been buzzing that C&G chair Yoly Ong knew exactly how grand the event was going to be, which is why, she wisely stayed away from it.
(UPDATE): Had an interview w/ Ms. Ong on Nov. 23, and she clarified that she was there at the launch (or as the DOT likes to call it, 'preview'). Apologies to Ms. Ong and our readers. She also said she had no inkling about the 'grandness' of the affair.
What's even worse, after blaming DOT, the advertising agency even pats itself on the back : "We shall take this experience as a cautionary tale against giving in to the client and allowing their over-enthusiasm to override our better judgment. It was a reminder that the road to perdition is paved with good intentions." Tsk, tsk.
I have much respect for advertising greats like Yoly Ong, and the work she has done over the years. But the bottom line is, if C&G was uncomfortable doing the project, it should've just passed up on it. And if the agency's owners really loved this country, they wouldn't have forwarded those insipid ideas.
(Images from ANC Tony Velasquez's posts here and here)
(UPDATE): A friend of mine who used to be the highest paid copywriter in the country also calls C&G's proposed slogan as "mediocre copy at best. So uninspired." If you know copywriters the way I do, and the way I know how this friend of mine thinks, you can bet that C&G could've come up w/ more exciting proposals than it forwarded.
HOW TRUE? According to journalist Inday Espina Varona's source, "straight and hot from Vegas," U/Sec Romano is there attending a travel fair. Her source added that "there was a Pilipinas kay Ganda banner but they didn't hang it :) BUT tourism staff worldwide [were] asked to vote on [the] new slogan. They voted NO and so were surprised when DOT still pushed through with it."
Tsk, tsk. Good Lord, will wonders never cease?
(UPDATE): I emailed U/Sec Romano to seek his comments regarding Campaigns & Grey's claims in its press statement and to check the veracity of the above tidbit from Inday, but he held off from answering most of my questions, until he arrives in Manila. Part of his email reads:
Just to let you know, I was in Las Vegas as head of the Philippine delegation to the DEMA dive show, and after that to introduce the 2011 Pinoy Homecoming program to the Filam communities. It is not about PKG. You may look at www.pinoyhomecoming.com to get an idea (it's still under construction, but defines what the program will be like).
And so we wait...