Ad Agency Sorry Tourism Video Used 'Inappropriate' Images

Some 'Philippines' footage was actually from UAE, Brazil, and other nations, agency sheepishly admits
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2023 9:03 AM CDT

There's nothing wrong with sharing a promotional video showing off your country's breathtaking rice terraces and sand dunes—unless, of course, those rice terraces and sand dunes aren't actually in your own country. That's what ad agency DDB Philippines is now apologizing for after it was discovered that footage it put together for its $900,000 tourism campaign—one eagerly supported by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.—used imagery shot in Indonesia, the UAE, and Switzerland, among other nations, reports the BBC.

Filipina blogger Sass Rogando Sasot first raised questions about the footage used in the campaign, which launched last Tuesday with a new "Love the Philippines" slogan replacing the former "It's more fun in the Philippines." The Guardian notes that after Sasot's queries, AFP took a closer look and found that multiple images used in DDB's video can be found on websites for stock photo providers. Footage of the rice terraces, for instance, was from the Indonesian island of Bali, while sand dunes imagery was found to have been shot in both the UAE and Brazil. An airplane seen in the video ostensibly landing in the Philippines, meanwhile, was actually touching down in Switzerland.

On Sunday, DDB said it was sorry for the "unfortunate oversight," calling the use of stock footage in the "mood video," which has since been taken off its Facebook page, "highly inappropriate, and contradictory to the DOT's [Department of Tourism's] objectives." DDB and DOT officials say that public funds weren't used to pay for the campaign, though that didn't stop the criticism from pouring in over the snafu. "For something as critical as an entire country's image, you don't 'set the mood' with plagiarism," Albay Rep. Joey Salceda tells CNN Philippines. (More Philippines stories.)

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