In yet another display of failure of the Philippines’ so-called thinking elite, Harvard graduate and chairperson of the infamous advertising agency, Campaigns & Grey, Yoly Villanueva-Ong, recently wrote a scathing attack on those who criticized the Department of Tourism logo and slogan, “Pilipinas, Kay Ganda!.” She described the critics as “net-dicts who fancy themselves divas of righteousness.” Whoa! But I haven’t even put my two cents in on the tourism slogan yet; which means I am not even one of those critics she is describing. Dang!
Why, oh why did I not bother to write about this much hated and talked about slogan?!? The answer is quite simple: because I already saw enough public outrage expressed about it. I am not one to kick a horse when it is already down. But I do fancy myself as someone who is fond of telling people to get off their high horse. And this Ms Villanueva-Ong, is so high up her fancy white horse that she can’t even hear the people who are talking below her very clearly.
Ms. Chairperson Ong can’t even accept the fact that her company came up with a dud of a campaign slogan. I’m pretty sure that when she and her staff were still in the drawing board, they probably thought that their idea was going to be a massive hit. Which is what usually happens when you drink too much Kool-Aid with your buddies. Unfortunately, the public has spoken and they have rejected the entire campaign ad right down to the dot. Even her idol President, Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) likewise echoed the sentiments of the public. But then in her article, Ms Ong contradicts herself. To quote:
In the advertising business, rejection is par for the course. Recommendations get turned down everyday. It’s a client’s prerogative to follow the execution he deems best suited for a product that he knows best. It’s also a cutthroat industry. A thick hide and Pacman resilience are necessary survival tools.
If she is really so used to getting turned down everyday, then what is so different about the rejection she got from members of the public, whose taxes were used to pay her company? Obviously, Ms Fuming-Mad Ong has taken this very, very personally and even used her connection with the media to publish an article in her own defense.
She even predicted the reaction to her own article when she said that, “…whatever I say may be considered defensive or worse, prolong and intensify the attacks. True that, Ms. Ong. You are definitely defensive and you just prolonged the attacks. Now you even have my two-cents in. You should have listened to your “protective family and friends” advise “to steer clear of the contentious subject at least until the furor blows over.”
Sadly, there was nothing in her article that would clear any of the issues that were brought up in the past few weeks after the so-called “preview” of the slogans were launched. The matter of whether or not the logo was plagiarized wasn’t even directly answered. The only thing she had to say about it was:
One accused us of being irresponsible for allowing the client to make us party to supposed plagiarism. That could have passed as a high-minded comment if his own brother wasn’t sued by a leading ad agency and ordered by the Adboard to cease and desist from airing a TV ad that was judged copied from Coke!
Then there was a former Creative Director for an airline account who mocked my Harvard degree as ironic under the circumstances. How quickly he forgot that he was fired by his Agency for allegedly receiving kickbacks from production suppliers!
Did she or did she not confirm that they committed plagiarism? It seems to me that she also showed an ability to deflect the blame to other people. Even the former administration was not off the hook with her when she mentioned the ZTE-NBN scandal. It’s like she was on a rampage and told herself, “If I’m going down, I’m taking everyone with me!” Everyone, it seems, including the public who should instead be lauded for voicing their opinion before the slogan hit foreign shores.
She can even pass as a gossip columnist for her use of blind-item descriptions. We, and the people on the streets don’t even know who that “one” is she was talking about, so why was there a need for her to mention that the brother of this “one” was sued by a leading ad agency?!? And I don’t really see the need to take a jab at someone who mocked her Harvard degree. Did she just want to mention that she has a Harvard degree just in case people missed it?
I’ve seen this kind of behavior before. Some members of the Philippines’ so-called elite always get too sensitive when they perceive a mocking of their fancy education. To be fair, in a country obsessed with credentials, flashing diplomas is de rigueur. It’s basically just a manifestation of that “I am better than you” typical mentality. Unfortunately, because they keep harping about their credentials, people expect more from them but when the proverbial brown stuff hits the fan, the practice tends to work against them.
Most ironic of all, Ong revealed the real reason why she was compelled to write her feelings at the end of her tirade. She insinuated that she was moved by the resignation of Undersecretary Vicente “Enteng” Romano, “When Undersecretary Vicente “Enteng” Romano exited with grace, he demonstrated a miracle of public office never witnessed in this country: a government official taking full ownership of a tempest-in-a-teacup-blown-up-into-a-Category-5-hurricane.”
How noble of her to admit that Enteng did the right thing, something that not many of the new administration’s staff would have done. But then she did not take the cue to do the right thing by admitting her company’s own hand in the fiasco.
Ms Ong, when you said “tearing down is more fun than building up,” I’m sure you were talking about how much fun you had tearing down other people. Otherwise, you would’ve stuck to the topic of the ill-fated tourism campaign slogan you helped develop.