When the Department of Tourism launched their new Experience The Philippines advert earlier this week, executives at the government agency probably had high hopes for the touching and well produced video. Those hopes dried up faster than teardrops hitting Manila’s hot city streets on a sunny afternoon, though, as viewers were quick to point out suspicious similarities between the DoT campaign and one from South Africa a few years ago. Copycat accusations were quickly thrown around and the hunt for the guilty party was on. At least as far as the DoT is concerned, that hunt seems to be over now.
The department issued a statement earlier, terminating its relationship with McCann Worldgroup Philippines, the agency behind the ad. The full statement, which was published on Facebook here, reads:
Official Statement of the Department of Tourism
After a diligent review of the ad materials in question, the Department of Tourism (DOT) has decided to discontinue its partnership with McCann Worldgroup Philippines.
In the midst of this controversy, the DOT expects a public apology from McCann over the negative feedback that the department has been receiving, owing to the glaring similarities between McCann’s “SIGHTS” ad and South Africa’s ad released in 2014.
We also wish to announce that we will reopen the procurement process for the production of a new advertising material which will be consistent with the current slogan… “IT’S MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES.”
Thus, we encourage those with fresh and original ideas that will showcase our diversely-rich tourist destinations and the unique Filipino hospitality to join this venture.
While it’s a popular pastime to criticize government agencies and officials when things like this happen, maybe on this occasion the fault really lay somewhere else. In any case, it seems everything is back to zero now and we can all look forward to a new campaign in the coming months.