Love the Philippines

Filipino Ad Agency Faces Backlash Over Inappropriate Use of Foreign Footage in Tourism Campaign

In a recent turn of events, a Filipino ad agency has come under fire for using footage from other countries in a promotional video for the Philippines’ new tourism campaign, titled “Love the Philippines.”

The controversy erupted shortly after the campaign’s launch on June 27, prompting the Department of Tourism (DOT) to launch an investigation into the matter.

According to a statement issued by the DOT, allegations surfaced that the video contained several shots that were not of the Philippines. The department had engaged the services of DDB Philippines, an ad agency, for the campaign’s launch. However, DOT public affairs and advocacy director Ina Zara-Loyola clarified that the video was not part of the contractual agreement with DDB Philippines, as reported by CNN Philippines.

Zara-Loyola stated that the DOT did not pay for the disputed material, and the responsibility lies solely with DDB Philippines. The agency had repeatedly assured the department that all materials used were original and owned by them. Nevertheless, DDB Philippines issued a profuse apology for the “highly inappropriate” use of foreign stock footage in the video, which has since been taken down.

While the use of stock footage in mood videos is a common industry practice, the inclusion of foreign stock footage was an unfortunate oversight by DDB Philippines, as acknowledged in their statement. This misstep contradicts the objectives of the DOT and the campaign. DDB Philippines expressed full cooperation with the ongoing investigation.

The “Love the Philippines” campaign, which aimed to replace the decade-old slogan “It’s More Fun In the Philippines,” was a significant investment by the DOT. Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco revealed that approximately 49 million pesos (around $880,000) were allocated for the new campaign. The department insists that no public funds were used for the controversial video. However, they accepted responsibility for the negative backlash.

The DOT holds itself accountable for promoting the country to the highest standards and is determined to protect the nation’s interests. They affirmed their commitment to take necessary action and exact accountability while continuing efforts to develop and promote the Philippine tourism industry. Last year, tourism contributed 17% to the country’s GDP, as reported by the World Travel and Tourism Council.

Secretary Frasco explained that the “Love the Philippines” campaign seeks to reintroduce the country’s diverse attractions and cultural richness in the post-pandemic era. It aims to showcase the Philippines’ natural assets, storied history, and vibrant culture beyond the fun and adventure previously emphasized to the world.

However, the recent controversy surrounding the video threatens the future of the campaign even before it gains momentum. Representative Joey Salceda voiced concerns and stated that if the issues are not resolved, he may question the continued use of government funds for the campaign. This statement raises doubts about the campaign’s sustainability and its potential impact on tourism in the Philippines.

As the investigation unfolds, stakeholders eagerly await the resolution of the matter. The DOT’s commitment to transparency and accountability will be crucial in restoring confidence and ensuring the success of future tourism initiatives. The Filipino people, as well as the international community, hope that the lessons learned from this incident will lead to stronger safeguards and greater adherence to authenticity in promoting the beautiful Philippines to the world.

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