How to get a slogan

is not straightforward.  Indeed, it is the other way around.  The slogan gets to you.  But how?

The famous 7,100

Wow Philippines never wowed me, but of course that’s just my opinion.  Pilipinas Kay Ganda has been officially orphaned, though I kind of like it, or its English version (borrowed from the Americans): Philippines the Beautiful.

What we need is a process of sorts.  I look askance at a focus-group thing that smacks of the blind leading the blind, or at voting by web decibel levels, which is mob rule in digital form.  Perhaps the trick is to consider how the good ones got to be there.

At one level a slogan gets to you because it is “already there.”  This is particularly true of America the Beautiful or Land of the Free.

At another level, it gets you when you see it, serendipity being the key element.  Singapore was many things groping for a theme: It was a trade and financial center, a mixture of races, a small city-state, an Asian Tiger, a clean place with drastic rules, etc.  Those ingredients combine well into Uniquely Singapore. Another example of serendipity is Belize, a country that like the Philippines promotes eco-tourism.  It has Belize – Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secret.

At a practical level, one can start from obviously bad stuff, and turn them around.  I imagine Incredible India could have come from the idea that the country was Incredibly Poor, and so from there, Ogilvy and Mather did a volte face!

Here’s a start, using a graduation method from the No-no’s through the So-so’s to the elusive The One.  The process is not easy, and can end up in compromise, as (I believe) it was with Remarkable Indonesia.

The No-nos (because they are bad, politically incorrect, or ugly, even impolite):

–          Pitiful Philippines

–          Patient Philippines (we are among the most patient people on earth)

–          Plutocratic Philippines

–          Plunder and Thunder Philippines

–          Poor but pretty Philippines (candidate for turnaround to Pristine Philippines?)

–          Terrible Philippines (perhaps because Manny P is small but terrible)

–          Benighted and beleaguered

–          Land of the carefree (because we laugh our cares away)

–          Desperado (because so many are desperate to leave)

The So-so’s (obviously for now):

–          Wow Philippines

–          Pilipinas Kay Ganda

–          Pilipinas Kong Mahal

–          People Love Philippines (one web commentator suggested the “heart” logo for “love”)

–          Knock-out Philippines (in honor of Manny P, see today’s Daily Inquirer)

–          Pearl of the Orient (because Rizal said it; it’s also in the national anthem)

–          Land of the Morning (from the official English version of the national anthem)

–          Por ti morir (from Spanish version of the national anthem; the English version is lame)

–          “To Die For” Philippines (a twist on the ending of the national anthem)

–          Almost heaven (this used to be West Virginia’s; but it comes from “buhay ay langit sa piling mo”)

–          Beloved country (translated from “bayang magiliw”)

–          7,100 Smisles (this is not a misspelling, but suggested by Aaron Spelling)

The One:  (the jury is still out).  Perhaps a “tough love” concept hangs in the air here.  We love the country and see its beauty; and we enjoy it warts and all, pretty much in the same way as the parent who loves the Prodigal Son.

But for now, I like 7,100 Smisles.  It’s smashing.  It makes me smile.

*****

UPDATE: An edited version of this post is at the Philippine Daily Tribune today, Nov. 24, 2010.

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