The imperative and imposing tone of the phrase “Love the Philippines” aside (does it need a comma, actually?), it turns out there’s more tea about that Department of Tourism (DOT) campaign that costs P49 million.
After some sleuthing, online detectives found that several pieces of footage used in the 46-second video were not of local destinations that the campaign was supposed to promote, but of other international tourist sites taken from Storyblocks, a rapid video creation platform.
That verdant green aerial view of the Banawa Rice Terraces turned out to be a similar agricultural structure in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. That person skidding through Paoay Sand Dunes was actually a clip in a United Arab Emirates location. That fisherman casting a net against a golden sunrise was shot in Thailand. Those dolphins jumping in the waters? Not shot in the Philippines. Even that plane landing on the runway was proven to be in Zurich, Switzerland.
Acting on these allegations, the DOT over the weekend said that it started conducting an investigation “to determine the veracity of, and to gather the full faculty of facts on, these allegations.”
THIS IS ALARMING!🇵🇭— Renz Nathaniel (@nathaniel_renz) July 1, 2023
The DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM – PHILIPPINES has shamelessly squandered a whopping P50M to flaunt foreign destinations (STOCK VIDEOS) instead of showcasing our own stunning scenes while proudly parading their new slogan “#LovethePhilippines.” We deserve better! >>> pic.twitter.com/TuW8WwF420
A day after, the advertising agency hired by DOT, DDB Philippines, admitted to using stock footage for the “Love the Philippines” campaign followed by an apology to the tourism agency and to the public.
DDB said it takes full responsibility for the use of “non-original/stock footage” of travel destinations in other countries and acknowledged that “the use of foreign stock footage in a campaign promoting the Philippines is highly inappropriate and contradictory to the DOT’s objectives.”
Although the agency said the use of stock footage in “mood videos” is “standard practice in the industry,” it still owned up to its lapses to “screening and approval processes (that were not) strictly followed.”
This earned the ire of netizens who lamented the use of the million-peso budget for a campaign that utilized stock videos. While the DOT has yet to issue a statement on the apology as of this writing, DDB emphasized that public funds were not used to produce the video.
The video has since been taken down on YouTube after it was launched last month. “Love the Philippines” replaced the previous tourism slogan “It’s more fun in the Philippines.”