I also love it because it plays on the perception war, in keeping with my profession in the legal public relations (PR) and marketing communications (www.deanandkings.com).
“One of the ‘must see’ attractions in Lucerne is the Lion Monument, a memorial for the Swiss soldiers who died in battle serving France's King Louis XVI during the French Revolution. The sculpture depicts a dying lion and was carved out of a rock face. Above the lion reads the Latin inscription HELVETIORUM FIDEI AC VIRTUTI, which translated into English means ‘To the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss’. From an artistic perspective, the Lion Monument is truly a beautiful piece of work that conveys such sadness and sorrow.”
“Interesting to note, but if you look closely, you'll notice that the surrounding outline of the lion resembles the shape of a pig. Apparently, the sculptor had a falling out with someone associated with the contracting of the memorial that he created the pig shape out of spite. Ouch!” (http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Europe/Switzerland/Kanton_Luzern/Lucerne-691229/Things_To_Do-Lucerne-Loewendenkmal_Lion_Monument-BR-1.html).
The Lion Monument comes to mind as some Filipinos beat themselves senseless over allegations that the Department of Tourism’s "It's more Fun in the Philippines" campaign was copied from a 1951 Swiss National Tourist Office ad which proclaimed "It's more fun in Switzerland!"
The issue gains more heat coming as it did months after sacked Tourism Secretary Albert Lim similarly came under fire after the DOT’s tourism slogan of “Pilipinas Kay Ganda” was found to have been copied from the tourism poster of the Polish government’s Tourism office.
In the first place, I doubt Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez – a seasoned former advertising executive himself --or the ad agency behind it -- would want to deliberately put himself into a similar fix that cost Lim’s post. A tourism campaign déjà vu is something that Jimenez doesn’t want to have in his plate this early.
If the slogan is similar to Switzerland’s, so what? No one has a franchise on such a phrase; and every marketing or promotion person in every country, tourism site, hotel, park and mall is saying the same thing about his place to customers every minute of each day.
Rather than punch holes into the slogan, we must see its intrinsic value and our capacity to make it work. Clearly, even if Switzerland beat us to the draw by more than 60 years, we Filipinos have more right to claim that idea, tag, brand and plant it in people’s head and minds all over the world. This is not a race about who coins that slogan first; this is a race about who or what country can live up to such tag and make it stick!
No offence meant to the Swiss, but Switzerland is clearly known more for the Swiss Alps, the Swiss watches, knives, and the efficiency of their people in keeping the money of people and institutions all over the world. This is not to say they are not fun-loving people. They are just less fun-loving than Filipinos—who seem to have the above-normal capacity to laugh and have fun in the face of tragedy, poverty, dictatorships, terrorism, rebellion and wars.
What we have here is actually a perception war. A propaganda war! And as we always tell our clients at Deans and Kings Legal PR, “Perception is Reality!” Thus, it is time to ask ourselves whether we want to see the lion or the pig in our country’s effort to attract tourists who can bring employment and extra money to the poor people in the countryside. More importantly, are we going to be lions or pigs for the Philippines?
Rather than criticize the DOT, it is best to support it and try to appreciate the potential the tag carries to propel our country into the Top Five destinations in Asia. Some say we don’t progress because we are a fun-loving people who easily forget the sins of government officials who rob us. Now is the time for us to cash in on such trait and make its magic spell work on tourists who come here not only for our tourists attractions but for our genuine smiles, warm handshakes, attention to people and strangers; and words of concern that they don’t get in their highly-individualistic societies.
So let the fun-factory roll! Go Pinoy tourism lions! It’s time to unleash the lion in all of us!