Advertising agency DDB has come under flak for using stock footage of other countries in a Philippines tourism promotional campaign.
The agency launched a part of the Filipino government’s US$900,000 ‘Love The Philippines’ campaign for the Department of Tourism (DOT) on June 27 that included rehashed footage of the rice terraces of Indonesia from stock footage site Pond5, the sand dunes of Brazil from Videvo, elements from Thailand as well as Dubai in the promotional work for the archipelago.
The incident unraveled after popular Philippine blogger Sass Rogando Sasot questioned the work's authenticity and alleged several shots in the campaign were “non-original” and from other countries. An analysis by news agency AFP’s Fact Check team confirmed the same; the video carried footage of Brazil, Indonesia, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.
As of today, the Department of Tourism has taken down the video from its Facebook page; DDB has apologised for the “foreign stock footage,” describing it as an “unfortunate oversight on our agency’s part.” It further noted that the video was for internal use only, "intended to be a mood video to excite internal stakeholders about the campaign."
“Proper screening and approval processes should have been strictly followed,” DDB said. “The use of foreign stock footage in a campaign promoting the Philippines is highly inappropriate and contradictory to the Department of Tourism’s objectives.”
Campaign Asia-Pacific has reached out to the tourism ministry in the Philippines but has yet to hear back at the time of publishing this story. However, the tourism ministry said in its statement released to the local media that it had “repeatedly sought confirmation from DDB on the originality and ownership of all materials contained in the AVPs (audio-visual presentations) and key visuals presented to the department.”
The video was produced at its own expense, DDB said. “As DOT’s agency on record for the launch of this campaign, we take full responsibility over this matter,” the firm added. The DDB said that the tourism video in question was produced by the advertising agency at their own expense.
“No public funds were released, or would be released, to fund the video. This was a DDB initiative to help pitch the slogan,” it noted.
Meanwhile the DOT said that it ''holds the responsibility of promoting the country to the highest standard.''
''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,'' the department added.
DDB Philippines won the Philippine Department of Tourism’s creative account in January 2019 and was tasked to give a push to the island country’s sustainable tourism. In addition, BBDO Guerrero, DOT’s long-standing partner agency since 2012, also won two significant projects simultaneously and was tasked with developing an integrated marketing communications campaign and refreshing its ‘It’s More Fun’ in Philippines tagline.