MANILA, PHILIPPINES — The recent Department of Tourism (DOT) campaign continues to make waves online, and not for a good reason.
When the rebrand first dropped to mark the DOT’s 50th year, shifting away from the iconic “It’s more fun in the Philippines” slogan to the new call to “Love the Philippines,” it was met with criticism from various corners of the internet. However, as the use of stock footage shot in other countries — including Indonesia, Thailand, and UAE — in the campaign’s audio-visual presentation (AVP) was made apparent, opinions regarding the new controversial slogan no longer became the biggest issue surrounding the new tourism branding.
In response to this, DOT has issued a statement saying that the department “is currently conducting an exhaustive investigation to determine the veracity of, and to gather the full faculty of facts on, these allegations.”
The probe ordered by DOT will involve DDB Group Philippines, the contracted ad agency that worked on the campaign. The department claimed that it repeatedly sought confirmation regarding the originality and ownership of all materials included in the AVP from DDB and that “DDB repeatedly assured the DOT that the originality and ownership of all materials are in order.”
“While no public funds have been paid for the AVP in question as this particular component of the launch was released on the account of DDB, the DOT holds the responsibility of promoting the country to the highest standard,” the department added. “Therefore, it will not hesitate to exact accountability and take the necessary action to protect the interest of the country even as it continues to exhaust all efforts to develop and promote the Philippine tourism industry.”
DDB has also issued an apology following the DOT’s statement. The agency said that it apologizes “for the apparent use of non-original / stock footage in the audiovisual presentation (AVP) shown in the launch event of the Love The Philippines campaign” and that it takes full responsibility at the matter at hand as the launch’s agency on record.
Like the DOT statement, DDB’s apology included an assurance that no public funds were used in order to produce the AVP and that it was created at the agency’s own expense.
Additionally, the agency also provided more information on the “oversight” that occurred while creating the “Love the Philippines” launch AVP. “While the use of stock footage in mood videos is standard practice in the industry, the use of foreign stock footage was an unfortunate oversight on our agency’s part. Proper screening and approval processes should have been strictly followed. The use of foreign stock footage in a campaign promoting the Philippines is highly inappropriate and contradictory to the DOT’s objectives.”
“We are fully cooperating with, and assure our full compliance towards the Department of Tourism’s investigation of this matter,” DDB Group said. “We sincerely hope this will not diminish the genuine love and appreciation the stakeholders and the public have been showing for the Love The Philippines campaign.”