The Philippines is clearly demonstrating how nation branding should not be approached. Last week the Department of Tourism (DOT) Media Director said that the organization is creating a new slogan that would “reflect President Rodrigo Duterte's thrust to institute reforms in the country”.
Of course this is 100% political interference and has nothing to do with market research or an attempt to better resonate with target markets. This follows the controversy surrounding the lead up to the current tagline, “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” in 2012.
The DOT spokesperson went on to make the unusual statement that “it’s normal to change the tourism brand when a new administration takes over.” That may be what they think in political circles, but the brand should be defined and managed in such a way that it is enduring and only creative executions change.The DOT seems to conflate a tagline, advertising campaign and the marketing of government programs. None of these represent a brand.
I must admit that the current tagline, “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” is a little out of sync with President Duterte's recent comments about President Obama and that approximately 38 people per day have died in Duterte’s “war on drugs” since he came to power nine weeks ago. If ever there was a place that needed a genuine nation branding approach with robust public diplomacy, this is the place – and no new tagline will do the trick.
Produced by: Total Destination Marketing
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