How 'It’s more fun in the Philippines' was born

Posted at 05/04/2012 4:15 PM | Updated as of 05/06/2012 12:25 AM

MANILA, Philippines – It seems that there is no turning back on the country’s “It’s more fun in the Philippines” campaign.

Just recently, the Department of Tourism said it spent P63 million to buy spots for the campaign’s television advertisements on CNN, which will be aired in Asia, Europe and the United States.

“It’s more fun in the Philippines” has also debuted at the International Travel Bourse in Berlin, which was attended by thousands of travel buyers.

The campaign has, indeed, gone a long way from its social media success, where different versions of the slogan were posted by Internet users here and abroad.

In a previous interview, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said its newest campaign was a hit because it is “simple,” “easy to remember” and “closest to the truth.”

“The moment you start to get cute and complex, it starts to sound manufactured. ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines’ is not a manufactured slogan in the conventional sense,” Jimenez said.

Roots

So how did “It’s more fun in the Philippines” come about?

The man behind the campaign is David Guerrero, chairman and chief creative officer of BBDO Guerrero, which is the country’s most awarded advertising firm.

Guerrero said the idea came during a diving trip, where he realized “how much more fun it is to be doing the same thing here than in another country.”

“I think the best work, always, is when you get as close as you can to the product,” he said in an interview on ANC’s “Pipol.”

“The character ‘fun’ is very Filipino,” he added. “’More’ is only a part of it. It’s people's desire to have fun, possibly too much fun.”

From there, Guerrero and his team considered different strategies on how to make the campaign viral and effective. In the end, they chose to tap into the power of social media.

“I think we can do this through an understanding of social media and the way people consume media, especially when they’re planning to travel,” he said. “People these days, when they go on a trip, they go online and ask friends. They will check recommendations.”

BBDO Guerrero eventually won the bid for the country’s tourism campaign with “It’s more fun in the Philippines,” besting seven other agencies.

And the rest is history.

“I really wanted to see a good job done. We wouldn’t have minded someone else winning if they did a better job,” Guerrero said.

Other viral campaigns

Aside from the “It’s more fun in the Philippines” slogan, BBDO Guerrero has created other viral campaigns such as the award-winning “Lola Techie” advertisement, which featured a tech-savvy grandmother.

Another is the Pepsi “Sa Akin ang Pinas” commercial, which is a spoof of Filipino action movies.

The ad agency was also behind the country’s previous tourism campaign, “WoW Philippines.”

Zero perception

Guerrero hopes that the “It’s more fun in the Philippines” slogan would boost the country’s tourism numbers, which pale in comparison to its Southeast Asian neighbors such as Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.

Like Jimenez, he said the problem does not lie on negative perceptions about the Philippines, but on its lack of global exposure.

“I think the Philippines is too small on the minds of people outside [the country],” he said. “The biggest problem is not the negative perception of the country, it’s the zero perception of the country.”

“If we go to the average guy in Germany, in England, in America, this (Philippines) is not on their radar.The objective of this campaign is to get us into the global perception, start having a specific point of view that people turn to.

“That they would say, ‘oh, it’s that fun place where people go to.’”

'Most tourism-oriented president'

Since the launch of the new campaign, the DOT and other government agencies have been working double time to make sure that foreigners know what the Philippines has to offer.

President Benigno Aquino III’s efforts have also been cited, with Jimenez calling him “the most tourism-oriented president in history.”

“We are going to get better and better at this,” the Tourism Secretary said in an earlier interview.