House of Representatives

‘Love the Philippines’ stock footage brouhaha draws lawmakers’ ire

Dwight de Leon

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‘Love the Philippines’ stock footage brouhaha draws lawmakers’ ire

CONTROVERSY. The Department of Tourism is in hot water after the release of a promotional video of the country's new campaign slogan which showed stock footage of other countries.

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'For something as critical as an entire country's image, you don't 'set the mood' with plagiarism,' says House ways and means chairperson Joey Salceda

MANILA, Philippines – The controversy surrounding the use of stock footage of other countries in the promotional video on Philippine tourism has already caught the attention of numerous lawmakers, who are disappointed with either the Department of Tourism (DOT) or the creative agency that DOT contracted.

Marketing communications company DDB Philippines previously explained that the presentation was a “mood video” for internal use that was meant to excite stakeholders about the “Love the Philippines” campaign, the new tourism slogan of the Philippines.

However, House ways and means panel chairperson Joey Salceda said it is now becoming evident to everyone that the people behind the launching of the new slogan did a lazy job (his exact words were “trabahong tamad“).

The congressman from Albay’s 2nd District already spoke up last week lamenting the supposed exclusion of Mayon Volcano, the top tourist draw of his province, from the promotional video.

“The first video was supposedly a ‘mood video,’ according to the contractor. For something as critical as an entire country’s image, you don’t ‘set the mood’ with plagiarism,” he said on Monday, July 3.

“The way the slogan was launched by this contractor – my goodness,” Salceda added. “I hope all these issues can be rectified before the budget hearings. Otherwise, I have a duty to ask questions.”

House Deputy Minority Leader France Castro directed her criticism at DOT itself over the “shoddy work [that] undermines the credibility and integrity of our tourism industry.”

She urged concerned government agencies to probe into the matter and take legal action.

“The use of deceptive stock footage by the DOT is not only a disservice to Filipinos but also to foreigners who may be misled into believing that these images represent the beauty and attractions of our country,” Castro said.

Aside from the stock footage fiasco, Castro also pointed out the similarity of the “Love the Philippines” campaign slogan with the one previously used in Cyprus, calling the supposed plagiarism unacceptable.

In the upper chamber, the use of stock footage also did not sit well with lawmakers, according to a report by DZBB’s Nimfa Ravelo.

“Very disappointing due to the very unprofessional work using stock video footages. ‘Love the Philippines’ is the idea yet we were proudly showing Indonesian, Thai, Swiss, and Emirati tourist attractions,” Senate minority leader Koko Pimentel lamented.

“They should at least redo the campaign video,” said Senator Sonny Angara, who chairs the chamber’s finance committee. “It’s like the government lost in this business deal.”

In the video, stock footage of Thailand, Indonesia, and Dubai were used.

DDB Philippines – which has already apologized – said the use of stock footage in mood videos is standard industry practice, but acknowledged that the use of foreign materials in a promotional video of the Philippines was “highly inappropriate.”

DOT said on Sunday it did not and will not pay for the video.

DDB Philippines will be paid P49 million for the campaign, which requires the firm to produce key visuals and logos, and five audio-visual presentations, among others.

The tourism department has another rebranding project pegged at P250 million based on its publicly uploaded bid notice abstract, but Rappler learned this is “entirely different” from the current branding endeavor.

DOT unveiled the “Love the Philippines” campaign slogan on June 27, retiring the decade-old predecessor, “It’s More Fun in the Philippines.” – Rappler.com

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Malacañang, and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.