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‘bourne Legacy’ Hurt Philippine Image Says Branding Expert

The image of the Philippines was hurt rather than helped by the movie “Bourne Legacy”, a branding expert recently expressed.

Jacqueline Thng, CEO of Singapore-based firm Lexis Branding, told ABS-CBN News that the Philippines’ Department of Tourism should not have approved the filming of the “Bourne Legacy” film in the country.

She said that the image of the Philippines the film showed is inappropriate for the type of image the country wants potential tourists to see.

“'Bourne Legacy', which showed the slums of the country, that's not the face of Philippines. Yet that was probably the biggest advertising campaign the DOT approved,” Thng said.

“That's a major global film and yet it showcased the Philippines at its worst state. Is that fun?” she added, an obvious reference to the “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” international tourism campaign.

“Bourne Legacy” director Tony Gilroy once remarked that Manila “felt so Bourne-ish… It's just so colorful and ugly and gritty, raw and stinky and crowded.”

The branding expert said that the side of Manila shown in the film, while real, should not be the side touted by the country.

“It showed a portion of the Philippines that you do not want to show to the world. I know it's real but it's something you're trying to eradicate. Is that a good representation of Manila? No,” Thng said.

“You go to Manila, sure there are pockets of this there but it's not how the Philippines is. By putting it on an international film, that's one of the biggest advertising campaigns out there. It beats all of the It's More Fun in the Philippines ads... People believe it's really [like that in the Philippies] because it's in the movies,” she added.

The CEO implored the Department of Tourism to be more careful about the image of the country foreign films portray.

“You can spend all these millions of dollars promoting how beautiful the Philippines is, and it's true, it really is beautiful but suddenly, people get to see this portion of the slums of the Philippines,” she said.

“It's like showing the same slums people see in India, that make people avoid going to India. I would say you have to be very careful of how the country's image. Every portion matters,” she added.

According to her, the Department of Tourism of the Philippines can learn a thing or two from their counterparts in South Korea.

“They used their entertainment as a means to promote the country. And there's no reason why you can't do that. If you look at the Korean dramas, they're really promoting their culture, places and as a result people are all flocking to Korea,” Thng advised.

“The stars of Kpop are now all over the world. The truth is, can Koreans sing better than Filipinos? The answer is no, Filipinos can singer better. But can they market themselves better, yes, they're great in marketing,” she added.

Furthermore, she said that the Department of Tourism and other agencies of the government should use the country’s entertainment industry to promote the country.

“If the government wants to make an effort to promote tourism, they can tap the entertainment industry. Use that because it's an easier way to get into the hearts of the people...[The Department of Tourism] can collaborate with the network and create a teleserye that promotes beautiful places in the Philippines,” she said.

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‘bourne Legacy’ Hurt Philippine Image Says Branding Expert

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