WATCH: DOT’s #WhenWithFilipinos Ad + Statement From Ad Agency Behind The Video

Yesterday, the Department of Tourism publicly launched the new slogan “Experience the Philippines” with its current tourism campaign,  “When With Filipinos”. The campaign was announced with an audio-visual presentation that aims to encourage tourists to visit, explore and experience the country.

According to DOT Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo, the campaign goes beyond featuring the country’s top destinations as previous ads usually do. “We are shifting our focus in our promotional campaigns towards the unique experiences that each destinations could offer, Filipino hospitality, and security,” said Teo. The ad entitled “Sights” showed the point of view of a Japanese retiree named M. Uchimura as he enjoyed different Philippine tourist destinations.

The video immediately caught attention both here and abroad because of the awe-striking sceneries featured, moments that offer glimpse of our rich culture, and lastly, the goosebumps-inducing twist that serves as the cherry on top of the wonderfully-done ad.

However, a few hours later, some netizens noticed that the advertisement is somewhat a little too similar to the “Meet South Africa” tourism campaign launched last year. Both ads showed a wandering tourist who was revealed to be blind by the end of the clip.

The ad agency behind the When With Filipinos TV and online ad, McCann Worldgroup Philippines, spoke up regarding the issue. In a statement, they clarified that the TV ad, Sights, “was particularly inspired by the story of a visually-impaired foreigner who has made the Philippines his home and who has come to experience the Philippines in different ways. We acknowledge the feedback that the way this story was told may have similarities with the South African tourism campaign. It is unfortunate that the DOT has been called out and accused of plagiarism, for work we have done to highlight the testimonial of a real retiree.”

McCann also added, “We take full responsibility as all ideas and storyboards presented were conceptualized by McCann Worldgroup Philippines”. However, we underscore that there has never been any intention to copy others’ creative work. McCann Worldgroup Philippines has always strived to adhere to our guiding principle, “Truth Well Told”, in everything we do. We stand by the integrity with which the campaign was developed.”

The Department of Tourism has not yet released their official statement regarding the issue as of time of writing.

Have you watched the ad? Share your thoughts in the comments!






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