PKG. That’s what this article is about. What is PKG? Well, it’s the latest attempt by the Philippine Department of Tourism to come up with a campaign to bring tourists to the Philippines. Frankly, I think it is a looser.
I should say, I think it’s a big loser.
For the past 8 years, the slogan for the tourism campaign of the Philippines has been “WowPhilippines.” Lots of countries have slogans for their tourism campaign. India has “Incredible India.” Malaysia says they are “Truly Asia.” There are many others as well. It appears that the slogan “WowPhilippines” is now dead.
The new slogan is PKG – Pilipinas Kay Ganda. Yeah, that’s it. I didn’t type it wrong. I didn’t misspell anything. They are trying to attract foreign tourists using a Tagalog slogan.
Philippine Secretary of Tourism Alberto Lim has been saying in the media for months that the DoT has something big up it’s sleeve and it will be introduced soon. This is it, Pilipinas Kay Ganda.
The new campaign was rolled out earlier this week, and ever since the roll out there has been an uproar in the Philippines. Unhappiness with the new slogan seems to be almost universal here in the Philippines. A lot of people, like me, can’t understand why they would choose to make the campaign slogan a Tagalog phrase if they are aiming to attract foreign tourists. I mean, the vast majority of their target audience won’t even know what the phrase means! Most foreigners won’t know how to pronounce it either. For those who are wondering what it means, “Pilipinas Kay Ganda” means “Philippines So Beautiful”.
The name leads to even more problems when you consider putting up a website for the campaign. These days, the Web should be the first line of attack when promoting a tourism destination. What are you going to get for the domain name (something.com)? PilipinasKayGanda.com? How will you attract your visitors? They won’t know how to spell the name! Oh, don’t worry, though, they chose a different domain name. BeautifulPilipinas.com is the name. Hmm… one word in English and one in Tagalog! That makes sense. Guess what? If you accidentally type in “BeautifulFilipinas” (F instead of a P) you end up at a porn site! Yes, it was in place before they even started the campaign too.
The website was all set up and operational earlier this week. It no longer exists (at least as of the time of this writing). After it was launched, people started telling the DoT that there were lots of misspelled words on the site, poor grammar, etc. The DoT had to pull down the site to re-work it. Now, they are even saying they will get a different domain name for it. So, basically all of the work and money spent was wasted.
Going back to the Tagalog name for the campaign, I saw an interview with a tourism official about this. DoT Undersecretary Vicente Romano was asked why a Tagalog name was chosen for the campaign slogan. Here is his response:
“Offering a slogan in Pilipino not only makes us different. It also gives an opportunity to start a conversation and engage them more intimately. It is a matter of execution.”
“We have a very limited budget compared to our neighbors in Asia. We’re about 1/17th of Thailand’s budget for 2011. All of our neighbors have chosen an English word to describe its character. If we follow the same path, our brand will simply be drowned out by our neighbors’ bigger ad budgets,” he added.
OK, if you have a limited budget, it would seem to me that by making the phrase in Tagalog that would mean that you have to spend more, because now you also have to educate the customer what the phrase means. If you say it in English you only need to sell the country… say it in Tagalog and you have to spend time and money explaining what the slogan means. It does not make sense to me.
Another consideration. All of the “big boys” of tourism in the region, people like Malaysia and Thailand have huge budgets. Romano is saying that the Philippines needs to make itself different. But, wait, if these others are very successful with what they are doing, why be different? Emulate success! Right now, the Philippines is saying that these others are very successful, so let’s not do what they are doing! That, in my mind is crazy.
For me, I believe that the old name, “WowPhilippines” is a very good name and slogan. If you have a limited budget why not use the existing name, and improve the campaign? I mean, it costs money to create a new name, new logo and everything. There is a perfectly good name in place that costs nothing! Why not keep using it? Mistakes were made with the WowPhilippines campaign that the government has used in the past 8 years, but spend time, money and energy making the campaign better, and improving on it instead of throwing it out for something that is not nearly as good!
So, basically, the Department of Tourism has been working on this new campaign ever since President Aquino came into office in June. Frankly, it seems to me that it was all a waste of time and money.
Pilipinas Kay Ganda? Sayang. Sus Ginoo!