I have been scratching my head why hosting the Miss World pageant in the Philippines have been an insurmountable task. Unlike the Miss Universe pageant that the country has hosted twice in the past and now a 3rd time this January, the Miss World pageant seems to have difficulties in gaining traction in the Philippines. Getting a financial backer and major sponsors willing to shell out gazillions is one of the biggest challenges of the pageant added with the dwindling number of girls wanting to participate at the national level.
With the relinquishing of the Miss World Philippines franchise of Miss Cory Quirino to Arnold Vegafria and Viva Entertainment, I thought it would be in good timing to list some possible reasons why it is so difficult to sell the Miss World pageant to Filipino pageant fans…
1. Understanding of Fast Tracks / Challenges/ Judging – there is a need to quantify and qualify how these are properly scored/ evaluated. While the Sports Challenge is pretty much easy to gauge, the Topmodel and Talent can easily be influenced. Some past winners of the Topmodel fast tracks are quite ‘unexpected’ knowing some don’t even have good catwalk skills… and the talent fasttrack has become a predictable one with classical singers being favored over others. While the fast tracks are a notable addition to the pageant, they seem to be insignificant later during the coronation night as the basis for the cut prior to the top 3 winners seems to be undefined.
2. Pageant Media Coverage – this is one of the weak points of the Miss World pageant. It is not very ‘friendly’ to media and would only allow a number of press to cover their events. They are not very visible to the media which in turn gives a weak presence to which fans are clamoring for. Being too controlling of what they allow media to cover resulted to only 3 media outlets covering the previous pageant; a pity since it was held in the US where it could have had enough media mileage.
3. Lack of Glamour in the pageant – let’s face it, pageants are a showcase of beauty and there has to be some sort of glamour and showmanship involved to make it palatable to a wide array of audience. This is where Filipinos don’t seem to get satisfied from the MW pageant. In past editions, there have only been two outfit changes in the pageant: one for Dances of the World (which they scrapped earlier) and the evening gowns. Compare that to the 3-4 outfit changes of other pageants (Miss Supranational has a whopping 4-5 outfit changes). Then let’s talk about the headshots of the pageant, photos are important to pageant fans to get to see more of the candidates. No pageant fan would support a candidate if they do not know more about them.
4. Fan Treatment & Support – this is one of the biggest area that makes the pageant less palatable to fans. How the MWOrg treats fans is important, you cannot just tell fans to “admire from a distance and keep that distance”. You need to engage fans, you cannot be cold and aloof as if the girls are British royalty. The org has to be able to be more ‘approachable’ and reachable to its fans. Filipinos don’t want untouchable winners, no pageant fan does. Majority of fans want someone that they can affiliate themselves into. Having a fan following will make the pageant less reliant on its sponsors. More fans, mean having a big slice of the market share, and if you have cornered a big chunk of the market, it would be easy to sell them your pageant for hosting and sponsorships.
5. Filipinos Kinship to the Miss Universe pageant – as long as the Miss Universe pageant exists, the Miss World pageant will always be a hard sell. This, unfortunately, is a reality that the MWOrg seemed to have realized now. But that is not a reason to alienate Filipino pageant fans. It is the more reason to compete with their American counterpart because the growing pageant market is not found in Europe (which the pageant seems to prefer in the past several years) or Latin America but rather in Asia, which the Philippines is a holder of one of the biggest market share.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to one question: Is the Miss World organization crowning universally appealing winners? Because at the end of the day, no one will bother if the pageant is boring or not, or if the pageant have terrible pre-pageant activities, as long as the winner they selected is acceptable to majority of the pageant fans. It is just sad that the Miss World org seems to neglect this simple fact.