The Department of Tourism (DOT) announced that it has decided to discontinue its partnership with advertising agency McCann Worldgroup over a controversial campaign advertisement that had glaring similarities to a South African ad released in 2014.

“After a diligent review of the ad materials in question, the Department of Tourism has decided to discontinue its partnership with McCann Worldgroup Philippines,” DOT Assistant Secretary and spokesperson Frederick Alegre said in a press conference in Makati City.

Alegre said that the DOT also expected a public apology from the ad agency.

“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,” he added.

Meanwhile, Alegre said that the DOT was reopening the procurement process for a new advertising agency to create new advertising campaign material.

“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’,” the tourism official said.

It’s high time that we open it up. This is something that we inherited from the past administration but as it happens, Secretary Wanda Teo was very clear in our instruction to us this morning that we have to move forward because there’s so much work that has to be done to promote the country,” he added.

One at a time

Alegre said that the DOT would be partnering with a new agency that would provide material for them “one at a time.”

“We’re going to look at the agency that can create one material at a time, it will vary depending on the terms of reference. This time it’s not bulk,” Alegre said.

The now terminated contract between DOT and McCann Worldgroup involved the latter producing at least four campaign advertisements for the former in 2017.

McCann Worldgroup previously bagged the PHP650-million project to create campaign advertisements for the DOT.

The project includes audio-visual presentations, TV and radio commercials, print advertisements, and the DOT’s an upgraded website.

Back to ‘Anak’

For the meantime, the DOT will be using McCann’s first ad, “Anak”. Its second ad, “Sights” will be scrapped.

Alegre encouraged advertising agencies with “fresh and original ideas” to join in the venture.

It was not clear if McCann Worldgroup admitted that the ad they made was indeed copied from the South African ad.

Asked if there were plans to file a case against McCann if proven that the ad was indeed copied, he said that the DOT is currently looking into its legal options.

DOT’s announcement came two days after the controversial ad was released worldwide in various TV and online platforms on Independence Day (June 12).

It also came a day after Sen. Nancy Binay urged the DOT to penalize advertising agencies that give “unoriginal” concepts so as not to compromise their integrity as a government agency.

“We should start penalizing ad agencies for giving our departments, especially the DOT, ripped off creative handles or not-so-original work,”” Sen. Nancy Binay, chair of the Senate Committee on Tourism, said in a statement.

“It compromises the integrity of the government agency, as well as the ad agency itself,”” she added.

In a statement on Thursday, Binay thanked the DOT for listening to stakeholders’ sentiments.

“We thank the Department of Tourism for listening to the views and sentiments of its stakeholders, especially in the light of the controversy involving the department and its advertising agency,” Binay said.

“We trust that the DOT would put its best foot forward as it moves on from this episode,” she added.*The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Thursday announced that it has decided to discontinue its partnership with advertising agency McCann Worldgroup over a controversial campaign advertisement that had glaring similarities to a South African ad released in 2014.

“After a diligent review of the ad materials in question, the Department of Tourism has decided to discontinue its partnership with McCann Worldgroup Philippines,” DOT Assistant Secretary and spokesperson Frederick Alegre said in a press conference in Makati City.

Alegre said that the DOT also expected a public apology from the ad agency.

“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,”” he added.

Meanwhile, Alegre said that the DOT was reopening the procurement process for a new advertising agency to create new advertising campaign material.

“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’,” the tourism official said.

For the meantime, the DOT will be using McCann’s first ad, “Anak”. Its second ad, “Sights” will be scrapped.

Alegre encouraged advertising agencies with “fresh and original ideas” to join in the venture.

It was not clear if McCann Worldgroup admitted that the ad they made was indeed copied from the South African ad.

Asked if there were plans to file a case against McCann if proven that the ad was indeed copied, he said that the DOT is currently looking into its legal options.

DOT’s announcement came two days after the controversial ad was released worldwide in various TV and online platforms on Independence Day (June 12).

It also came a day after Sen. Nancy Binay urged the DOT to penalize advertising agencies that give “unoriginal” concepts so as not to compromise their integrity as a government agency.

“We should start penalizing ad agencies for giving our departments, especially the DOT, ripped off creative handles or not-so-original work,” Sen. Nancy Binay, chair of the Senate Committee on Tourism, said in a statement.

“It compromises the integrity of the government agency, as well as the ad agency itself,” she added. (ANP/PNA)