Senators disappointed over ‘Love the Philippines’ foreign stock video fiasco
MANILA, Philippines — Senators on Monday vented out their frustration over the controversial use of foreign stock footage in the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) video for the launch of its new P49-million “Love the Philippines” tourism campaign.
Senator Nancy Binay, chair of the Senate committee on tourism, lamented the “major setback” that the DOT suffered during the first salvo of its new campaign.
She predicted this might not be the only time DOT would earn the ire of the public over its “creative lapses.”
“Someone should be held accountable for this because the DOT is spending the public’s money to pay these ad agencies. We expect Secretary [Christina] Frasco to make right whatever went wrong, and ensure that the integrity of our brand will not be diminished due to an ‘oversight,’” Binay said in a statement written partly in Filipino.
DDB Philippines, the advertising agency hired by the DOT for the “Love the Philippines” campaign, had earlier apologized and assumed “full responsibility” for using “non-original or stock footage” of travel destinations for the campaign’s promotional video.
The firm said the video was only intended to be a “mood video to excite internal stakeholders.”
Despite this, Binay said the DOT should have not been remiss of its duty to thoroughly review the materials forwarded by DDB Philippines.
“The DOT should also be more discerning and critical on pegs, concepts, storyboards, and drafts that ad agencies present to them. There are also lapses on the part of the client,” she added.
Instead of showing authenticity, Binay said the “promotional anomaly” may directly impact potential tourists’ decisions, and also paint a negative image of how the Philippines promotes its destinations.
“Now, there will be a tinge of doubt when people consume the DOT’s next television ads or promotional materials. And this is a… because we didn’t seem to learn from earlier mistakes of unoriginal logos, slogans, designs or video clips,” she argued.
Moving forward, Binay said, “The paramount task is to ensure that there will be no pause in promoting our destinations despite the snag.”
She hinted at the idea of reviving the erstwhile tourism slogan, “It’s More Fun in the Philippines,” considering the troubles the DOT encountered with the “Love the Philippines” campaign.
“Maybe we can bring back the ‘Fun’ because of our problems with ‘Love’ now,” Binay said.
Senator Grace Poe, meanwhile, aired disappointment over the controversial DOT campaign.
“It’s frustrating to know that even the government can fall victim to blunders in a marketing campaign that supposedly aims to promote the Philippines’ unique character, natural beauty and cultural attractions,” she said in a separate statement.
The lawmaker fumed over how the Philippines was seemingly scammed by the release of this promotional video.
“We expect the incident will not happen again, especially to government agencies like the DOT that our people trust,” Poe pressed.
The DOT has since terminated its contract with DDB Philippines, saying no payments have been made so far under their tourism branding campaign agreement.
The tourism department invoked its right “to forfeit performance security as a result of default in obligations under the contract, as well to receive the standards of performance or lack thereof vis à vis any claims for payment and/or any other engagement.”
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