Ad firm admits ‘foreign stock footage’ used in PH promo
MANILA, Philippines — DDB Philippines, the advertising agency hired by the Department of Tourism (DOT) for its P49-million “Love the Philippines” campaign, apologized on Sunday to Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco and the public for using “non-original/stock footage” of travel destinations in other countries for the campaign’s promotional video.
“As DOT’s agency on record for the launch of this campaign, we take full responsibility over this matter,” DDB said in a statement after the DOT said on Saturday that it would investigate the matter.
The one-minute 46-second video was shown at the June 27 launching of the new tourism slogan with President Marcos in attendance.
But netizens claimed the video included footage of travel destinations in other countries taken from Storyblocks, a rapid video creation platform.
These reportedly included rice terraces in Indonesia, the silhouette of a fisherman in Thailand, an airport runway in Switzerland, jumping dolphins from an unspecified location, and sand dunes in the United Arab Emirates.
DDB acknowledged that “the use of foreign stock footage in a campaign promoting the Philippines is highly inappropriate and contradictory to the DOT’s objectives.”
But the agency also said it uploaded the video on social media as a “mood video to excite internal stakeholders.”
“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] part,” it admitted, as it attributed this lapse to “screening and approval processes (that were not) strictly followed.”
DDB emphasized that public funds were not used to produce the video.
The DOT has yet to issue a statement on the apology, as of this writing.
But the department had noted earlier that, during its meetings and consultations with the ad agency, DDB said the “originality and ownership of all materials contained in the and key visuals [were] in order.”
In an interview on June 30, Frasco said the new tourism brand campaign, which replaced the slogan, “It’s more fun in the Philippines,” in use since 2012, had been awarded to DDB Philippines after a public bidding.
The DOT has opened another P250-million contract for “consulting services for the integrated marketing campaign for the rebranding of the Philippine tourism brand.”
The shortlisted bidders were DDB Philippines and IPG Mediabrands Philippines Inc. The deadline for the submission of bids was on June 29.
The new tourism campaign has been met with mixed reactions, with two lawmakers calling out the DOT for excluding their hometowns.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said in a Facebook post on Sunday that his earlier adverse remarks “[were] not premature, political soundbite or parochial view.”
“Being a tourism advocate, it is not my happiness being proven right after all,” he added, apparently referring to the controversy over the DDB video.
Right after the launching, Salceda said the DOT had failed Albay residents who were looking forward to earning from tourism when it failed to include Mayon Volcano in its promotional campaign.
Sen. Francis Tolentino also expressed dismay over the DOT’s apparent snub of his hometown, Tagaytay City, and one of its attractions, Taal Volcano, in the video.
“I associate myself with Congressman Salceda. He should include those from Cavite and Batangas in his displeasure,” Tolentino told radio dzBB’s “Bantay Balita sa Kongreso.”
“As we speak right at this moment, Tagaytay probably hosts the most number of domestic tourists who come from various parts of the country,” he said.
For chief presidential legal counsel Juan Ponce Enrile, “enjoy” the Philippines would have been more appropriate instead of love.
“Many are coming here because they want to enjoy, to see what is there in the Philippines. They are not here to love the Philippines, but to enjoy it,” he said in his weekly television program.