BDO Unibank apologizes for 'insensitive' advertisements
MANILA, Philippines – BDO Unibank apologized on Friday, November 13, on its Facebook page after its series of online advertisements drew the ire of netizens for “insensitive” messages.
"We apologize that the Ads have been very insensitive. The posts have since been removed and we have taken steps to resolve the matter internally," wrote BDO Unibank.
The ad, which was taken down on Friday, November 13, featured a photo of an environmental activist holding up a sign with the words "stop deforestation" and a traveler with a subtle ‘or’ in between them. The caption in the ad asked: “Save the environment, or save up to see places?”
The other ads in the series also asked questions that some netizens also found insensitive. These ads were taken down eventually, including one which asked, "Save the world or save up on fashion?"
Netizens were quick to pick up on the ad and hit its message of choosing between the environment and travel, which many found tasteless.
"This ad is very wrong, BDO. Why are you making us choose between saving the environment and saving up to see places?” asked netizen Luis Adrian Hidalgo in one of the comments.
Some netizens also slammed the page’s response to the comments which they felt were ‘pre-programmed.’
“Not only is this ad seriously misinformed, but your fb admin is a robot whose only preprogrammed response to criticism is ‘thanks for your feedback,'" wrote Facebook user Jappy Lim in the comments.
Netizen and environmental advocate Renee Karunungan posted a screenshot of the post on Facebook after noticing that the post was taken down.
"Let's not forget that it is owned by Henry Sy, who also owns SM. They cut down trees in Baguio to build a parking lot,” Karunungan wrote in her Facebook post. "They also built SM Marikina near the riverbank which caused (or exacerbated the already big problem of flood in Marikina) the massive flood during typhoon Ondoy because they blocked waterways.”
Despite the apology, netizens were not easily placated, with some asking that the ad agency and bank officials responsible for the advertisement be held accountable.
Others, however, appreciated the apology.
There’s no denying it, social media is the new playing field for brands and advertisers.
Through the years, we’ve seen brands soar through markets and break sales records with brilliantly planned and well-executed social media campaigns. When used carelessly, however, what was intended to be a brand-boosting campaign may end up detouring the brand to PR-disaster-ville.
This is not the first time that a social media campaign was brought to its knees by angry netizens.
On November 2014, a video ad that was released by the Department of Health in an attempt to curb teenage pregnancy was also skewered by netizens and was eventually taken down. (READ: 'Netizens decry DOH anti-pregnancy video')
What do you think about the ads? How do you feel about BDO's apology? Tell us in the comments below! - Rappler.com