It is the common axiom that seeing beauty in art is in the eye of the beholder. That does not apply however to logos. Understanding logos is not a matter of personal opinion because a logo prescribes a particular symbol.
The anatomy of a logo is such that they are designed to be memorable at a glance. Logos are meant to “encapsulate the entirety of the brand in a single image,” avers a US-based Creative Communications expert. Logos communicate through symbolism, shape language, color theory. It can even act as an avatar, meaning it can be a stand-alone for the brand. Unlike art, logos convey only one symbolic meaning to the beholder.
Flesh and blood keyboard warriors of the Filipino social media public however, claim that the meaning of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation’s new horrendous logo was composed through artificial intelligence. Is that true, PAGCOR? Because if it is, that is plagiarism plain and simple. Since when has asking ChatGPT worth 3 million Pesos? To date, PAGCOR has not clarified that it composed the logo’s meaning by AI.
When the Filipino public parodies the new logo, PAGCOR can be sure it will have to live with a failed brand symbol not only now but in the future. While many have redesigned the logo for free without need of P3M and what appears to be a questionable procurement process, the caricatures have instead made PAGCOR the current laughing stock of government.
Choose your versions: satan, Hellboy, Loki, Maleficient, sabong, Petron, Lucky Me.
The bottom-line economy of all this brouhaha, however, goes beyond the logo and its worth of P3M. In reality, it will cost taxpayers much more than that. From hereon, PAGCOR will have to use that logo in a huge variety of its corporate elements. Consider this list: stationeries, letterheads, envelopes, personnel uniforms, signboards (for all its offices nationwide), office signboards, official vehicles, equipment inventory stickers, gambling chips, etc., etc. The reader can supply more items. In fact, the P3M is peanuts.
A new logo in fact entails an entire makeover of everything about the agency. Makeover is a mild word; call it an overhaul. Old elements that still bear the previous logo will have to be discarded. That is a terrible waste of precious government resources.
In the case of PAGCOR, imagine how much that will run up to millions in its Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE). Worse is the other plagiarized fiasco of the current Marcos government, the tourism slogan of tourism secretary Christina Codilla Frasco. Hers will involve a huge marketing effort which will need, aside from the aforementioned supplies similar to PAGCOR’s, television ads, audiovisual presentations, promotional standees and other items, ads in buses in foreign cities, souvenirs and giveaways, and a whole motley caboodle of articles that do not go free because they are paid for by us. Meanwhile, she goes overseas for a posh vacation while we continue to compute how much we will pay for her Frasco Fiasco (caps yes, because it has evolved as such branded by the public).
Why is the current Marcos government embroiled in all these ridiculous stupidities and gaffes? If Christina Codilla Frasco represents a political capital important to the Marcoses come 2025 elections and the presidential elections in 2028 because of vote-rich Cebu, PAGCOR’s Alejandro H. Tengco may hold significance as well to Marcos Jr.’s politics.
Tengco was a former vice mayor of Malolos, Bulacan and belongs to a family with substantial business interests in construction (JBROS Construction), general building contractor (Nationstar Development Corporation), food (Multi Kitchen Inc., Malolos Food Corporation and the popular restaurant chain Max’s). He is said to be a good friend of the president. Could financial contributions to political campaigns be far behind? It is valid for us to ask, Mr. Tengco. In politics where addition is premium, accounting for friends is better set aside.
And that is how this Marcos government is run. Never mind making blunders that are paid for by taxpayers, what is important is a happy thing will happen on the way to the forum, the next elections.
Our standards of governance have gone critically and desperately wrong, to the dogs.
The views in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of VERA Files.