MarketingSoutheast Asia

DDB Group Philippines apologises for stock footage misuse fiasco on latest DOT Philippines campaign

Teddy Cambosa - July 2, 2023

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Manila, Philippines DDB Group Philippines, the agency of record for the Department of Tourism (DOT) Philippines, has apologised for the misuse of several stock footage assets as part of its promotional video for the recently unveiled ‘Love The Philippines‘ tourism campaign rebranding. This comes after several netizens have pointed out that several of the scenes on the ad were not based in the Philippines but rather from other countries.

In the days following the campaign launch, netizens took notice of how the video used stock footage that misrepresented various tourist spots in the country. They include a fisherman throwing a net which was actually stock footage of a Thai fisherman; the country’s Rice Terraces which was actually stock footage of a similar structure in Bali, Indonesia; and a dune racing footage which was actually shot in Dubai.

In a statement, the agency said that they take full responsibility for this matter and that the video was only intended to excite their internal stakeholders regarding the new tourism campaign.

“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,” the agency said.

DDB Group Philippines has also stated that the video has been taken down across all channels, and will be working closely together with the DOT in investigating said matter. It also noted that succeeding ad campaigns for the new tourism slogan have yet to be produced.

It has also clarified that no public funds have been used to produce the video and that it was only made by the agency to pitch the slogan to the public. It also hopes that following the fiasco, it would not diminish the public’s reception regarding the campaign.

This was not the first time an agency has been caught under fire for various campaign fiascos alongside the Department of Tourism.

In 2010, DOT released a slogan named ‘Pilipinas Kay Ganda’ alongside agency Campaigns & Grey. However, many pointed out that the slogan’s artistic interpretation resembles Poland’s tourism slogan ‘Polska’. Then in 2017, DOT came under fire as well when it released a promotional campaign titled ‘Sights’ alongside creative agency McCann Worldgroup. Netizens then pointed out that the campaign’s storytelling resembles of South Africa’s tourism campaign back in 2014. As a result, DOT terminated its PHP650m contract with the agency.

UPDATE: As of this writing, the Department of Tourism has terminated its PHP50m contract with DDB Group Philippines following the stock footage misuse fiasco. DOT says that no payments have been made to the agency. This was made in a public statement by Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco.

“As DDB Philippines has publicly apologised, taken full responsibility, and admitted in no uncertain terms, that non-original materials were used in their AVP, reflecting an abject failure to comply with their obligation/s under the contract and a direct contravention with the DOT’s objectives for the enhanced tourism branding, the DOT hereby exercises its right to proceed with termination proceedings against its contract with DDB,” Frasco said.