The Department of Tourism’s (DoT) new TV commercial sporting the Experience the Philippines tagline has received flak from the travel trade for falling short on both creativity and strategy.
The commercial – centred on a blind Japanese retiree who felt at home during his trip to the Philippines – was pilloried by netizens, including travel agents and advertising experts, who found the tagline and concept lacklustre.
Fingers are also pointed at ad agency McCann Worldgroup Philippines, as the commercial bears similarities to an earlier one by South Africa Tourism.
Clarifying that the ad is the second in a series of four TV commercials produced this year under the It’s More Fun in the Philippines tagline, Tourism secretary Ricky Alegre said the ad was meant to attract foreign retirees and people with disabilities (PWDs), citing figures from the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) that there are 27,000 retirees from 120 countries living in the country.
Travel consultants however said the ad may be more appropriate for the PRA as the country isn’t PWD-friendly when it comes to infrastructure and facilities.
“Our problem with this campaign is the substance of it and whether it would be effective,” said Rajah Tours president Jojo Clemente, adding that “It’s more Fun in the Philippines is one of the best campaigns ever mounted” and effective in bringing in tourists.
A travel consultant who requested anonymity opined that the word 'experience' neither "zeroes in on (the) message we are trying to convey” nor sets the Philippines apart from other destinations.
In its latest statement issued yesterday afternoon, the DoT said it is pulling out this international ad campaign and terminating its contract with ad agency McCann Worldgroup Philippines following the plagiarism backlash.
It will instead “reopen the procurement process for the production of a new advertising material which will be consistent with the current slogan, It’s more fun in the Philippines”.