A country’s pop cultural exports are key to its image-building, but the Philippines has yet to capitalize on its flourishing entertainment industry to enhance its image, nor has it invested in its stars, including famous athletes and designers, to be ambassadors of the country brand, a branding expert noted at the recent tourism congress capping Cebu Business Month 2013.
Jacqueline Thng, chief executive officer of brand experience consultancy company Lexis Branding Llp., pointed out that the Department of Tourism (DOT) could go beyond a 30-second advertisement with the tourism slogan “It’s more fun in the Philippines,” and instead perhaps sponsor an entire “teleserye” to promote the country as a tourist destination.
“DOT could take a leaf out of the Koreans who worked great with the teleserye in Korea to be able to promote beautiful places, so much that people who saw the Korean-dramas, they want to go and see the place,” Thng said, talking to Entrepreneur Philippines last Friday.
“You can transform the country image through films and imagery, storytelling; people look at it and they believe in it. An advertisement is too short for people to see the full story.”
Thng opined that some of the best advertisements in the world are produced in the Philippines, yet the quality of teleserye is arguably low, and its audience limited to the domestic market. Very few Filipino TV sitcoms are actually designed for and marketed abroad.
“The Philippines produce better advertisements than teleserye and movie productions because those are rushed for the masa (mass market) and often the quality is very poor. But if you were going to put real effort into doing what you can do, export really good teleserye for the global market, and use them as a means to promote.”
“Try to limit your resources but use your resources in the best way. You have a huge, wonderful creative talent here. Sponsor certain stars; make sure that they do well in the American market. All these stars in American Idol and Britain’s Got Talent are Filipinos performing… support them, engage them, and then use them as a means to support all things Filipino,” Thng suggested.